Employers in the United States are increasingly requiring employees with same-sex partners to legally marry in order for their partner to receive health-care benefits, according to data from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

The organization compared data from two surveys, one published in 2016 and one in 2015, following the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

One year before the ruling, 51 per cent of respondents were providing benefits to same-sex partners in civil unions. That number rose to 59 per cent for same-sex domestic partners and 79 per cent for same-sex spouses.

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But in 2016, there was a decrease in the number of employers offering health-care benefits to unmarried same-sex couples. According to respondents, 31 per cent were providing benefits to those in civil unions and 48 per cent said the same for domestic partners. On the other hand, the percentage that were providing benefits to same-sex spouses rose to 86 per cent.

“Domestic partner benefits can be complex to manage, and by offering consistent coverage for opposite-sex and same-sex couples, employers are able to ease some of the administrative burden,” said Julie Stich, associate vice-president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, in a news release.

“I wouldn’t expect all employers to drop domestic partner benefits,” she added. “Competitive employers are always working to provide an inclusive benefit package, and offering domestic partner benefits can build a culture of inclusion and help the company attract the best talent.”

The organization found that larger organizations are the most likely (77 per cent) to be maintaining benefits for same-sex domestic partners.

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Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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