Report: Up to 30% of employers plan to phase out domestic partner benefits

The legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide has prompted companies to reevaluate their domestic partnership benefit policies.  Over two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies offered domestic partner benefits to employees before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, and now employers must decide whether such benefits should continue for same-sex partners who do not get married.  According to a study from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 70 percent of firms plan to continue offering domestic partnership benefits while 30 percent intend to phase them out.

Chris Crespo, the executive in charge of inclusiveness at Ernst & Young, and EY’s delegate to Out Leadership’s Diversity Leadership Council, told U.S. News & World Report that EY would address the issue by expanding domestic partnership benefits to all couples.  Benefits will be extended to all employees who can show they’re in a committed relationship.  “We’re not going to tell you how to define your family,” Crespo said.

Phasing out domestic partnership policies and LGBT employees to marry in order to receive benefits could potentially negatively impact those couples.  Susan Manning, an attorney with Out Leadership member company Morgan Lewis, told U.S. News, “in numerous states, there are no employment protections for LGBT people.”

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