Before the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, offices around the country offered domestic partner benefits. These were a way of providing the same benefits that married, straight couples received in a time when same-sex marriage was not legal.
What is a Domestic Partner?
Times have changed, and as a result of this newfound acceptance many companies are considering the elimination of this benefit. To be clear – domestic partnerships are not limited to same-sex couples. Any interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but choose not to be married (to each other or anyone else) is considered a domestic partnership. The exact details of what goes into establishing a domestic partnership differ between states, but the basics are the same.
New Rules for Couples
A recent survey found that more and more companies are requiring same-sex couples to marry before an employee’s partner can be eligible for health care benefits. By eliminating the domestic partnership option and instead offering the exact same coverage to opposite- and same-sex couples, many HR departments are able to do away with the complex policy and accompanying administrative burden.
Are Any Companies Keeping the Benefit?
On the other side, some larger companies are choosing to keep the benefit intact. In such a competitive job market, anything extra can help set you apart. Those who keep the benefit are seen as building a culture of inclusion, which can help attract the best talent. In fact, a survey found that three out of four large organizations (with more than 10,000 employees) continue to offer health care benefits to domestic partners.
You will eventually have to decide whether or not you want to continue offering this benefit. Many find the decision can be made for them by simply weighing the cost of keeping the extra benefit with that of leaving it in place.