Illinois’ same-sex marriage law, which was passed last fall, is set to take effect June 1. The new law will affect Illinois employers in various ways.
Employers will need to treat same-sex spouses the same way they treat opposite-sex spouses. This will have ramifications for employer-sponsored health plans with spousal coverage and retirement plans.
Also, employee leave policies will be affected. For example, the guarantees provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act for the serious health condition of a spouse will be available to same-sex spouses. Similarly, other leave or benefit policies relating to spouses and families (e.g., bereavement leave) will need to be administered consistently for opposite-sex and same-sex married employees.
Employers also need to remember the provision in the Illinois Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on marital status. Thus, no adverse action should be taken against employees based on their status as married or single.
For more information on Illinois’ same-sex marriage law, see the December 2013 issue of Illinois Employment Law Letter.