Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

The View from Proskauer on Developments in the World of Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation

Tag Archives: Same-Sex Marriage

Is a Qualified Retirement Plan Required to Apply Windsor Retroactively?

Following the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor (in which the Court held that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional), one of the questions facing sponsors of tax-qualified retirement plans was whether the plans were required to recognize same-sex spouses on a retroactive basis for purposes of … Continue Reading

IRS Notice 2015-86 — The Limited Effect of Obergefell

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2015-86, providing guidance on the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans, including cafeteria plans.  Importantly, and as expected, the IRS comments in the Notice that it does not anticipate that Obergefell will … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Accommodate Obergefell

On October 21, 2015, the IRS issued proposed regulations to clarify the treatment of same-sex spouses for federal tax purposes. By way of background, in 2013, the United States Supreme Court held in United States v. Windsor that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as being between opposite-sex partners was unconstitutional.  … Continue Reading

The U.S. Supreme Court Finds a Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage: Implications for Employee Benefit Plan Sponsors

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses require states to allow same-sex marriage and to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.  The decision comes exactly two years to the day from the Court’s decision … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Same-Sex Marriage Laws

It was announced today that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider two important questions relating to same-sex marriage–whether states are required to allow same-sex marriages within their jurisdictions, and whether states are required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.  The decisions are expected to be issued in June of this year.… Continue Reading

DOL Proposes Change to FMLA Definition of Spouse to Accommodate Same-Sex Marriage

As was expected, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a proposed regulation changing the definition of “spouse” for FMLA purposes in order to protect the FMLA rights of employees with same-sex spouses. The proposed regulation adopts a “place of celebration” rule, consistent with the current DOL interpretation in the context of other federal laws. … Continue Reading

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 self-insured and, in the case of insured plans, the requirements of state insurance law. In states where same-sex marriage is … Continue Reading

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 purposes and provided guidance relating to the impact of Windsor on certain types of employee benefits.  At the same … Continue Reading

More Post-Windsor Guidance from the IRS Relating to Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses: Cafeteria Plan Changes, Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision that repealed Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex spouses were not recognized as spouses for federal tax and benefits purposes.  In the immediate aftermath of Windsor, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which stated the IRS position that, for … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Announces a “Place of Celebration” Rule in Implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision With Regard to Employee Benefit Plans

A few weeks after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stated that it will apply a “place of celebration” rule in recognizing same-sex spouses for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code (including with respect to employee benefit plans), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced today that it too will interpret the term “spouse” as including … Continue Reading

IRS Adopts a “Place of Celebration” Rule in Implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision

On August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued important guidance for employers and employees relating to the impact of the Windsor decision on employee benefit plans. In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the agencies ruled that a same-sex couple legally married in any jurisdiction will be recognized as spouses … Continue Reading

First Post-Windsor ERISA Decision

In the first reported ERISA decision post-Windsor, the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held (in Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer Tobits) that a same-sex spouse is to be treated as the decedent’s lawful spouse for purposes of entitlement to death benefits under a retirement plan. In reaching its decision, the court … Continue Reading

DOMA Held Unconstitutional

The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage” and “spouse” as excluding same-sex partners, was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court today in a 5-4 decision on equal protection grounds.  Stay tuned for information about our upcoming Webinar regarding the impact of the Court’s decision on employer-provided benefits.  We will also post a link … Continue Reading
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