News & Analysis as of

OCR Issues Guidance on HIPAA and Same-Sex Marriage

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) released guidance last Wednesday to help covered entities and business associates understand the privacy implications of the 2013...more

Business Associate Agreement September 22 Deadline; Same Sex Marriage Guidance Released

There are two important updates with respect to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). First, on September 17, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to...more

Update on Same-Sex Employee Benefits

In recent months employers around the country, have been scrambling to keep up with developments with respect to the evolving rights of employees in same-sex relationships. This articles touches on some recent guidance in...more

DOL Proposes to Amend FMLA Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed amending the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to expressly include individuals in same-sex marriages....more

DOL Wants FMLA to Cover Same-Sex Couples

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking to extend coverage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to same-sex couples following a Supreme Court ruling that federal benefits cannot be limited based on a...more

CFPB Issues Guidance On Ensuring Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples

On July 8, the CFPB released guidance designed to ensure equal treatment for legally married same-sex couples in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013). ...more

FMLA to Cover Same-Sex Couples

President Barack Obama announced recently that he is directing the Department of Labor to propose a rule making legally married, same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all fifty...more

Executive Briefing - May 2014

In This Issue: - ADA Reasonable Accommodation Requests: Avoid Rigid Policies and Consider Technology - IRS Issues Guidance on Qualified Plan Amendments Regarding Same Sex Spouses - OSHA to Refer Untimely...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Qualified Plan Amendments Regarding Same Sex Spouses

Employers have been considering the impact on benefit programs, including the qualified retirement plans, of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recognizing the validity of same sex marriages. In September, 2013, the IRS issued...more

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...more

Marriage Equality: Federal Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban In Pennsylvania

The movement for marriage equality made significant headway in Pennsylvania this week, when the Honorable John E. Jones, issued an opinion striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage for constitutional reasons. The...more

New IRS Guidance on Same-Sex Marriages and Retirement Plans Requires Action by Employers

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) have issued Notice 2014-9 (the “Notice”) and related Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) providing much anticipated guidance on the application of the Supreme...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Earlier today, Harrisburg-based Federal District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. In this landmark ruling, Jones concluded that "same-sex couples who seek to marry in...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Resulting in Significant Impact on Employee Benefit Plans

On May 20, 2014, a federal judge in the case of Whitewood v. Wolf struck down both Pennsylvania's ban on marriage for same-sex couples and its prohibition against recognition of same-sex marriages legally entered into in...more

ERISA: Self-Funded Benefit Plans May Not Have To Cover Same-Sex Spouses?

You already know that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages, was declared unconstitutional. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)....more

Hot Employment Topics For 2014 Part II: After The Defense Of Marriage Act? Implications For Employee Benefits

This is the second of a seven-part series describing "Hot Employment Topics for 2014." Part II focuses upon "The Aftermath of the Demise of the Defense of Marriage Act." The United States Supreme Court in 2013 struck...more

2013 Employment Law Growing Pains

Every year there are developments in employment law that challenge accepted norms of practice and require creative workable solutions. In particular 2013 had several areas that caused some of these “growing pains,” including...more

Utah Same-Sex Marriages and Private Employers

Recent Federal Court decisions regarding Utah’s same-sex marriage laws have placed private employers in unchartered waters. Many private employers are now asking themselves: Am I required to extend benefits to same-sex...more

2013 Revisited: It Was an Interesting Year for Health Care, but not for the Reasons You Would Expect

The coming year was supposed to be the year when two of health care reform’s most critical provisions, the employer and individual mandates, took effect. But employers who were busily preparing for the January 1, 2014,...more

IRS Publishes Post-Windsor Guidance in Notice 2014-1

A significant amount of confusion remains for employee benefit plan sponsors regarding the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor and its holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act...more

Beneficiary Designations and Spouse Definitions Need to be Updated - 16th State Approves Same Sex Marriage While 3rd Circuit...

Yesterday Hawaii adopted the Hawaii Marriage Equity Act of 2013 recognizing same sex marriages as of December 2, 2013 and permitting persons in civil unions in Hawaii to apply to be married without first requiring dissolution...more

Benefits Update, No. 4, November 2013: The World Post-Windsor: Rethinking Benefit And Leave Policies For Same-Sex Spouses

Following a highly-publicized U.S. Supreme Court decision and subsequent guidance from both the Labor Department (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employers need to rethink how they treat same-sex spouses under...more

Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

With same-sex marriages to begin in the state of Illinois next year, employers should expect an increase in requests for spousal benefit coverage from employees who have legally married their same-sex partners. The new law...more

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Plan to Follow “State of Celebration” Rule

Following the lead of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has announced that it will apply the term “spouses” and “marriages”...more

New Jersey’s Recognition of Same Sex Marriages Impacts Leave, Benefits and Tax Laws

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent decision to legalize same-sex marriage will have an impact on several federal and state employment statutes. In September 2013, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled in...more

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