Employers Obligation To Domestic Partners
When you have employees, it comes as part of the package that they will have families, spouses and domestic partnerships. While most expect to have a responsibility to an employee’s spouse, some employers do not realize that they not only have an obligation to their employees but also to their domestic partners. Here we give you a brief outline of what responsibilities you have as an employer to domestic partners.
California based employers have no particular requirement to provide benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. However, the California Insurance Equality Act does require employers who offer health care plans and insurance policies to their employees to offer equal cover to registered domestic partners, just as they would with an employee’s spouse. It is appropriate for an employer to request proof of a domestic partnership before awarding the benefits, just as they might request proof of a marriage.
The provisions set out by the CFRA apply equally to domestic partners exactly as they would to spouses. An employee is entitle to leave under the CFRA to take care of their domestic partner. This doe not count towards FMLA leave entitlement and so that leave will remain available at a later date if the employee needs to take leave to take care of a close relative. This means that a domestic partner can actually take up to 6 months of leave whereas a spouse is limited to only 3 months. Properly registered domestic partners also qualify as beneficiaries for Cal-Cobra.
Any company in California which wishes to bid on government contracts worth in excess of $100,000 in a single fiscal year, including renewal of existing contracts, has to prove that they will not discriminate in terms of offering benefits to both married spouses and domestic partners.
Thanks to Dan Shulman from www.findtradeschools.com for contributing this article
California state law ensures that domestic partners are given equal rights, the same benefits and the same level of protection offered to spouses. FEHA forbids discrimination on the grounds of marital status and as a result no discrimination can be made based on a domestic partnership. This has not been tested in court, but in general terms a domestic partnership should be treated exactly the same as a marriage. It is acceptable for a company which employs both civil partners to decide not to put one partner under the other’s supervision or to employ both partners in the same team or department.