Domestic Partner Benefits Essay

2493 words - 10 pages

In this day and age a family is no longer considered a traditional married couple with children. In today's society there are many variations of family's, which can include married couples and non-married couples who are cohabitating. According to ("How to Achieve Domestic", n.d.) "Only 25 percent of the nations households fit the traditional definition, meanwhile the number of unmarried households in the nation is growing"(p.4). Because, the definition of couples has changed there are 211 fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner benefits to its employee's. Among these companies are: General Motors, Ford Corporation, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Coca Cola and Disney. With major players in ...view middle of the document...

However, one benefit that is still not offered to domestic partners is the use ofmoney contributed to a flexible spending account, unless the partner can be qualified asa dependant. This policy is governed by, the IRS as stated in ("How to AchieveDomestic", n.d.) "The money contributed to these accounts- known officially as IRCsection 125 cafeteria plans.... but unless the domestic partner qualifies as a dependantunder the IRS definition, premiums for domestic partners cannot be offered on a pre-taxbasis" (p. 6).Companies can also realize other benefits for offering domestic partner benefits to itsemployees. As stated in ("How to Achieve Domestic", n.d.) "domestic partner benefitsimprove productivity by alleviating personal stress that may keep employeesfrom focusing on work fully" (p. 4). What this equates to is more employee bang for thecompany's buck, employees are so grateful, because of the company's offering they workharder. In addition, employers are also reaping the rewards of offering these benefitswhen it comes employee retention and recruiting. Employees who work for thesecompanies stay, because they are happy with the benefits, and potential candidateswill take the job because of the attractive benefits package.ImplementationWhen an employer decides to implement the benefits for the domestic partner, they should be careful to document the terms of its policy. It is usually best for an employer to begin with a list of the key features and issues to be addressed in the employer's policy. It is very important to understand the definition of a domestic partner. Some of the key issues would be; what type of proof will the employer require, will the employer extend the same policy to the opposite sex domestic partners of unmarried employees, and will an employee's domestic partner for medical insurance be the default beneficiary for the life insurance and retirement benefits.After making the decision to provide domestic partner benefits, an employer will normally force immediate attention to its health insurance programs. This happens principally because the employer must be assured, that their insurer is willing to provide the coverage. It is also important to search out the laws of the state in which the coverage will be available; to make sure it is not in violation of public policy. For instance, as explained by Mark Poerio (2004) "January 1, 2002, California and Maine require that insurers make domestic partner coverage available to employers who want to offer it. By contrast, Virginia prohibits insurers from covering domestic partners"(para 5). Employer's who are promised coverage by insurers; need to research for themselves what state law prohibits. A legal issue may arise if a domestic partner incurs a significant claim, and the insurer disclaims coverage because it violates public policy. This may require the employer to cover the expense themselves, causing great out of pocket expense to the company.It is important to outline the...

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