Domestic partner or domestic partnership identifies the personal relationship between individuals who are living together and sharing a common domestic life together but are not joined in any type of legal partnership, marriage or civil union. The individuals that are domestic partners can be also categorized into sexual preference, such as gay, lesbian or even transgender. Many companies today offer a wide variety of benefits to employees, ranging from health, dental, life, and even pet insurance. Although the sharing of these benefits to a spouse is allowed, offering the same luxury to a domestic partner is often not extended. Overall, the implementation of domestic partner benefit plans can be difficult for employers. Care must be taken to avoid discrimination for moral and legal reasons (Savasta, 1997). This paper will show the positive results for the company by offering employees domestic partner benefits. The research will show the added value the company will benefit from, and what it will do for the company’s public image. Employees should feel that they are being treated equitably, which promotes company morale and productivity, but domestic partner benefits could introduce disparity among employees if the benefits are offered exclusively to same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, but not to both (Savasta, 1997). Will the company justify the decision to offer domestic partner benefits simply to be a diverse company, or to be fair to employees? Cost Factors
The cost of health insurance is continually on the rise, which makes health care compensation more of a concern for employees and their dependents. However, the total costs of adding domestic partner benefits to the employees' benefits packages are insignificant. A study taken in 2005 by Hewitt associates shows that the majority of employers experience a total benefits cost increase of less than one percent (Luther, 2006 ). When a company needs to stay competitive, the last thing it needs to neglect are the necessities of its own employees. Adding to the constantly growing number of solid companies to consider when seeking employment; Company’s should consider which benefits are offered. J.D. Piro, chairman of the health law group at Hewitt, says the major driver of health care costs for many employers are triggered by women of child-bearing age because of maternity expenses. For "obvious reasons," he says that is not a factor for gay couples (Moon, 2005). Health benefits are shown to be a greater portion of a persons compensation offered by an employer as opposed to receiving wages and salaries alone. Since the 1950s' the average compensation one receives from an employer in the form of either salary or wages has decreased by 14% (Luther, 2006). Numerous studies have shown that domestic partner benefits do not have a significant impact on the overall cost of health care insurance and can have a positive impact on hiring, retention and employee morale. Domestic partner benefits have a positive effect on productivity because it provides a safety net to employees. “As of March 1, 2006, 49% of the Fortune 500 and 78% of the Fortune 100 largest corporations offered health benefits to employees' domestic partners, compared to just 25 % of the Fortune 500 in 2000” (Luther, 2006). Although conservative groups such as the American Family Association call domestic partner benefits a "prohibitively expensive" and says they "increase costs across the board for all employees." A recent study by Hewitt associates disputes that allegation. Less than 1% of workers opted to enroll their same-sex spouses in Massachusetts even after same-sex marriage was legalized in the state two years ago (Moon, 2005). Value and Company Image
Companies that provide benefits plans for domestic partners know the need is a necessity; companies should also know that is the right thing to do. The profit that comes from providing benefits to domestic partners is priceless....
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