HRC Blog

Department of Labor Publishes Guidance on Employee Benefit Plans

department of labor logoThis afternoon, the Department of Labor (DOL) published new guidance implementing the Supreme Court’s decision striking down DOMA in the context of employee benefit plans.  Today’s release provides guidance to plans, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, participants and beneficiaries on the decision's impact on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA covers primarily large employer benefit plans.  For more information on ERISA coverage visit: www.dol.gov/ebsa/.
 
The guidance clarifies that the terms "spouse" and "marriage" in Title I of ERISA and in related regulations includes same-sex couples legally married in any state, regardless of where they currently live." By providing greater clarity on how the Supreme Court's decision affects one of the laws we enforce, we are contributing to greater equality and greater protection for America's working families," said Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi.  This guidance will ensure that same-sex spouses have access to important protections under employer health insurance, retirement and pension plans.   
 
HRC applauds this guidance and the impact it will have on LGBT workers across the country.  HRC continues to urge DOL to adopt this standard in future policies and regulations implementing the Supreme Court decision.

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