All Illinois Employers (that means everyone)

by Beverly A. Pekala on June 8, 2011

It would have been difficult to miss the fact that last week civil unions became legal in Illinois . The gist of the new law is that persons of the same sex or opposite sex can be joined in a legally recognized relationship.

 However, there are many ramifications of this new law which have yet to be reported. One of the most significant is that this new law affects businesses and employment benefits, such as retirement and health care benefits. Illinois employers must be aware of how the new civil union law impacts their employees and the benefits which the business offers.

 It’s extremely important to know that all employers are covered by this new law, not just those with more than 25 or 50 employees. Many small business owners incorrectly assume the law doesn’t involve them. In fact, some employers have said, “Because we’re such a small organization we know all our employees and none of them are gay, so this law doesn’t affect us.”  

 With due respect, you might not really know whether an employee is straight or gay. The civil union law doesn’t just apply to those in the gay community. It applies to straight couples, who are also permitted to obtain a civil union.  

 If you are an Illinois employer, it’s definitely time to take a close look at how the civil union law impacts your business, especially in the areas of retirement, health and other benefits. For more information on this topic, please click on the tabs titled “Legal Issues” and “Healthcare, Benefits & Retirement.” 

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