Employee Benefits

Same-Gender Marriages: The Evolving Landscape's Effect on Employee Benefit Plans

Presented by Todd Solomon
Recorded on: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Duration: 90 minutes
Prerequisites: None
CE Credits: 1.5 HRCI Credits awarded upon completion
Arrow Down ONLINE

Arrow Down PHONE/FAX
By Phone: 1-800-677-3789



Employers face fresh confusion and potential headaches in benefits administration as same-gender marriage and civil unions become legal in more jurisdictions.

At the same time, more than 40 states have “defense of marriage” laws or constitutional provisions recognizing only marriage between a man and a woman as valid and legal.

The constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is also in question. If overturned, this could change the federal government’s treatment of same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships — and ultimately employer-provided benefits for employees’ same-sex spouses and partners.

In the midst of all this uncertainty, you face a very pressing dilemma: How does this volatile legal climate affect the administration of benefits right now?

This 90-minute interactive webinar will help you prepare your benefit plan documents, HR policies and administrative procedures in light of state and local laws and court cases. This webinar will benefit even organizations with no presence in a state that recognizes same-gender marriage, but that have employees who live in a state that does.

Learning Points:

  • How should an employer respond to an employee who presents a marriage certificate from a jurisdiction where same-gender marriage is legal and requests spousal coverage?
  • How will insurance carriers and HMOs treat same-gender spouses?
  • What is the impact on retirement plans of domestic partnerships and same-gender marriage?
  • How should an employer handle coverage of employees’ non-married partners, such as civil union partners, domestic partners or reciprocal beneficiaries?  
  • Are there benefits that may not be offered to domestic partners and same-gender spouses?
  • What are the federal and state tax consequences of same-gender spousal coverage?  What payroll and withholding issues are involved?
  • If an employer already offers domestic partner coverage, can/should it be revised or eliminated in light of the recent changes?  

Who Should Attend:

  • Employee benefits professionals
  • HR managers
  • Plan administrators
  • Third-party administrators
  • Corporate counsels
  • Plan sponsors
Todd Solomon Todd Solomon

Todd A. Solomon is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the firm’s Chicago office. Todd is co-chair of the firm’s International Benefits Affinity Group, and a portion of his practice consists of advising multi-national clients on global employee benefits matters and compliance issues. He has also dealt with IRS under various circumstances, including Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System filings, Audit CAP negotiations, benefit plan audits and applications for determination letters. He has also represented clients in negotiations with the Department of Labor in connection with benefit plan audits and Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program filings.

Todd is the author of the First-Seventh Editions of Domestic Partner Benefits - An Employer's Guide, which were published by Thompson Information Services, and is a frequent speaker on employee benefits issues resulting from domestic partnerships and same-gender marriages. Todd is a contributing editor to the Employer's Handbook: Complying with IRS Employee Benefits Rules, also published by Thompson Information Services.  He also is a periodic contributor to the Huffington Post.

Todd is chair of the firm’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, and is a member of the firm’s Charitable Foundation. He is president of the board of directors of the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, and is a member of the McDermott’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He has been involved with evaluating the firm’s domestic partner benefits policies and working with businesses in Chicago to form strategic alliances in order to advocate for LGBT rights in the workplace. In 2013, Todd received the National LGBT Association Allies for Justice Award.

He is admitted to practice before the Illinois Bar, is a member of the International Bar Association, and in 2013, was named secretary of the International Bar Association LGBT Issues Subcommittee.

CE Credits:
HRCI This program has been approved for (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. Please be sure to note the program ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org.
The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.