News & Analysis as of

FMLA Benefits May Be Extended for Same-Sex Spouses

Under current law, an eligible employee may take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for a same-sex spouse only if they reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. If the employee lives in a state...more

DOL Proposes To Amend FMLA’s Definition of ‘Spouse’

A year after the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed to amend its regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act...more

Obama Administration Announces Proposed Rule Extending FMLA Leave Rights for Same-Sex Couples

President Obama plans to announce today a proposed rule that would allow an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the employee lives in a state that recognizes their marital status. ...more

The Federal Court for the Southern District of New York Rules that Employers with Self-Insured Health Plans Need Not Offer Medical...

The issue of same-sex spousal rights is now largely resolved for qualified retirement plans. However, substantial questions about same-sex spouse health benefits remain unanswered. In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield,...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...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

IRS Provides Guidance on Retroactivity of DOMA Decision for Qualified Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2014-19 and related answers to FAQs, which give plan sponsors additional guidance on how the Supreme Court's decision last June in U.S. v. Windsor applies...more

Exclusion of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Did Not Interfere with Protected Rights under ERISA

In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, a federal district court addressed the issue of whether a self-funded health plan could include language that denied dependent coverage to same-sex spouses without violating Section...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

U.S. Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Pennsylvania

Today, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania nullified Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws, holding that they violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If the ruling stands...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

"Insights" Newsletter - Spring 2014

In this issue: - Supply Chain Finance as the "New Normal" - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Implements Regulations for Covered Mortgage Loans - Arbitration Guidelines - Navigating Foreclosure...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

Whitewood v. Wolf: Navigating the Sea of Change for Marriage Equality

It has been a momentous year for marriage equality in our country. The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June 2013 decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding the ruling on Proposition 8’s unconstitutionality...more

More Guidance on the Windsor Decision: Mid-Year Amendments to Safe Harbor Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has issued Notice 2014-37 to provide guidance on amendments to reflect the outcome of United States v. Windsor, which invalidated Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act regarding the...more

Welfare Benefit Plan Might Not Be Required To Cover Same Sex Spouses

Much has been written about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision last term declaring unconstitutional the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required federal law not to recognize same sex marriages....more

How The Windsor Decision Applies To Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently furnished employers with welcome guidance concerning coverage of same-sex spouses in qualified plans. In a new Notice, the Service discusses how qualified arrangements such as...more

New IRS Guidance Establishes When Retirement Plans Must Be Amended To Provide Retirement Benefit Rights To Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) stated that qualified retirement plans (e.g., profit-sharing, 401(k), pension plans, etc.) must...more

New IRS Rules on Same Sex Marriages and How the Rules Affect Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

In the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor (Windsor), the Court held that, for federal purposes, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Although the dispute in the Windsor...more

New IRS Guidance Relating to Same-Sex Spouses and Qualified Retirement Plan Benefits

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in U.S. v. Windsor) that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the IRS announced that same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax...more

IRS Issues Windsor Guidance For Qualified Retirement Plans

The IRS has issued Notice 2014-19, which provides anticipated guidance for sponsors of qualified retirement plans on complying with last year's Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor. That decision deemed...more

Is It Time To Review, Retest, Or Amend Your Employee Benefit Plans? IRS Provides Same Sex Marriage Guidance For Retirement Plan...

On June 26, 2013, when the Supreme Court determined that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the tax and benefit plan implications were unclear. Later, in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the...more

Retirement Plan Amendment Requirements Post-Windsor

The recent release of Notice 2014-19 and IRS FAQs provide some initial pieces of the guidance that the IRS first promised in September 2013 regarding administrator obligations when amending employee benefit plans to account...more

IRS Releases Guidance on Application of Windsor to Retirement Plans

Last week, the IRS released Notice 2014-19, which provides guidance on the application to retirement plans of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act...more

Filling In The Retirement Plan Gaps For Same-Sex Couples—What It Means For Your Retirement Plan

Employers and participants alike have been anxiously waiting for further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how marriages of same-sex couples will be treated for purposes of qualified retirement plans....more

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