How the Recent Ruling on Same Sex Marriages May Affect Your Business

Now that the Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples who are legally wed are to be treated as spouses under ERISA and other federal laws, you may need to make some adjustments to your business policies and forms. 

The landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, which took immediate effect on June 26, 2015, may affect your business. Here are some recommendations on adjustments you may need to make: 

  • To adjust for the new definition of what is considered an employee’s “spouse,” you may need to update enrollment forms, distribution election packages, tax notices and beneficiary designation forms.
  • To allow for the new spouse definition, you may need to reprogram tax reporting systems.
  • Your employees who are legally married to same sex partners may want to update their W-4 forms to indicate that their filing status is now “married.”
  • If you have a plan that covers domestic partners, you should review this plan again to see if you want to extend benefits to an employee married to a same-sex partner.
  • If you have a pension and/or 401(k) plan, you may need to update it to recognize same-sex spouses to receive surviving spouse death benefits and annuities.
  • You will want to take a look at the federal laws governing benefits such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and COBRA to see if you will need to extend benefits now to same-sex couples.