Compensation and benefits issue article analysis.

Essay by alvinchang September 2005

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The benefits offered by an employer play a critical role in the lives of employees and their families by assisting in health needs, future financial security, needed absences from work, and much more. Benefits may include programs like paid time off, medical insurance, dental insurance, disability, life insurance, retirement benefits, family leave, education and training programs, bonuses, commissions, and stock options. For many years, most employers only provide benefits for employees' spouse and children. Only in recent years have employers begun to offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees. However, the article "Impact of Same-Sex Marriage Developments of Employers" stated that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, provides that for purposes of federal law marriage can only be between individuals with opposite sex. This means that even if same-sex individuals are married legally under state law, they will still not be considered married under federal law, including federal laws governing employee benefits.

(Lotti, D., 2004)

The term "domestic partner benefits" refers to employee benefit programs that offer to non-married couples or same-sex marriage couples the same or similar benefits as those provided to opposite-sex married couples. Currently, most employers are generally not required by federal, state, or local law to provide employee benefits to domestic partners of their employees. Because of DOMA, a same-sex spouse is not considering a spouse under federal law; therefore, same-sex marriage will have little legal impact on most private sector employers. (Lotti, D., 2004) Of course, employers may voluntarily choose to extend some or all of their benefit plans to domestic partners. However, there may be tax implications unless the domestic partner qualifies as the employees' dependent for federal tax purposes, 'the exclusion from income of health coverage under Internal Revenue Code Sections 105 and 106 will not apply". (Lotti, D.,