Domestic Partnership

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THE BENEFITS OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP BENEFITS

The Benefits of Domestic Partnership Benefits
Carol Scott
University of Phoenix

The Benefits of Domestic Partner Benefits
In the process of recruiting and retaining new employees, one of the key considerations is the benefits package offered by an employer. The majority of prospective employees consider very carefully a perspective employer’s set of benefits prior to acceptance of employment. The availability of domestic partnerships has become a major topic of concern in most states resulting in a large number of political debates, constitutional amendments, and legal proceedings. The advantages gained by providing benefits to domestic partners can outweigh the costs. This report will define domestic partnerships, outline the various benefits available for dependants, provide analysis related to the cost of providing benefits to dependants of domestic partnerships, discuss various benefit package options and related costs, and provide details related to the value the company stands to gain by offering such benefits. Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnerships are generally thought of as a relationship between two members of the same sex. While same sex relationships garner most of the attention, domestic partnerships are not always between members of the same sex. California Family Code Section 297 defines domestic partners as “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.” To establish a domestic partnership in California, a couple must file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of the State, share a common residence, not be married or in a domestic partnership with someone else, not be related by blood, both are over the age of 18, both are the same sex, or opposite sex over the age of 62 and meet the eligibility criteria under the Social Security Act.

Legal Issues
Currently, 18 states offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of state employees. Several state and local governments that offer health insurance and other benefits to employees’ unmarried domestic partners are currently facing lawsuits. Proponents of the Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMA) claim these constitutional amendments prohibit governments from offering such benefits to any dependent of a relationship that does not fit the state’s constitutional definition of marriage. Both gay-rights advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union dispute such amendments and are currently engaging DOMA proponents in courts across America in attempts to resolve their differences (Gentile, 2006). The costs associated with defending such legal matters can prove to be very cumbersome. Types of Employer Benefits

When seeking employment, benefit packages play a major role in attracting and keeping employees. Employer benefits consist of more than the basic medical, dental, and vision plans. A variety of additional benefits being sought after by potential employees include, but are not limited to, retirement plans, life insurance and the family medical leave act. “To qualify for domestic partner benefits, employees may be asked to sign a statement or submit an affidavit asserting they live with a domestic partner and are financially interdependent” (Greenwald, 2003). Health Insurance

“For most nonelderly people in the United States, health insurance and access to health care derive from one’s own or a family member’s employment” (Ash and Badgett, 2006). In all fairness, these types of benefits should be offered to these types of families under the current guidelines of Domestic Partnership. Two levels of benefits are offered by employers, single coverage and family coverage. Single employees are at a disadvantage when it comes to compensation because some employers offer...
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