Most Employers Will Continue Domestic Partner Benefits

Firms surveyed indicated they only provided domestic partner benefits because same-gender couples previously couldn’t marry, but there are other reasons to continue offering the benefits.

Slightly more than half of employers believe the Supreme Court ruling about same-gender marriage will have an impact on their organization, according to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).

Fifty-seven percent of employers surveyed indicated they offer benefits to same-gender domestic partners, and 45.4% offer it to opposite-gender domestic partners. Nearly 30% that offer same-gender domestic partner benefits say it is unlikely they will continue offering them, and less than 20% that offer opposite-gender domestic partner benefits say it is unlikely they will continue to.                 

The number one reason given for dropping domestic partner benefits was that it was only offered because same-gender domestic partners couldn’t marry, but now they can. However, respondents cited many reasons for continuing to offer domestic partner benefits.

More than 45% cited the ability to attract and retain quality employees as the reason to continue benefits for same-gender domestic partners, and nearly 53% cited the same reason for continuing domestic partner benefits for same-gender couples. Other reasons cited include: We recognize all types of families (38.1% and 42.3%); It is the right thing to do (35.2% and 36.1%); and couples are choosing to stay in domestic partnerships and not marry (23.8% each).

Organizations also weighed in on the impact of the Supreme Court marriage ruling on the ease of benefits administration. Most (53.1%) anticipate the ease of administration will be about the same, while one-quarter (25.2%) anticipate it will be somewhat easier and 12.8% said it will be much easier. Only 9% indicated they anticipate benefits administration to be somewhat or more difficult after the ruling.

To view respondent demographics and the findings of the survey, visit