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Domestic Partner Benefits San Francisco States Its Case

June 1, 1997
Related Topics: Medical Benefits Law, Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Featured Article, Benefits
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Below is an outline of the mandate provided by the City of San Francisco explaining what the law is intended—and not intended—to do.

What it does:

  • Prohibits the City from entering into contracts with companies that discriminate in the provision of benefits provided to employees with spouses and employees with legally registered domestic partners. This is what the City does and what the voters have approved for City workers.
  • Covers benefits such as bereavement leave, medical leave and health insurance.

What it doesn't do:

  • Does not require companies to provide benefits that they do not already provide spouses. If the company does not pay for spousal benefits, they do not have to pay for domestic-partner benefits.
  • Does not require companies to pay extra costs for domestic-partner benefits. If the costs are more than they are for providing them for spouses, the employee pays the difference.
  • Does not prevent the city from entering into contracts with companies unable to provide the benefits despite reasonable attempts to do so. Instead, it allows those companies to pay the employee the amount of money, if any, the company pays the insurance carrier for spousal coverage.
  • Does not apply to subcontractors.
  • Will not be implemented until six months after passage.

Support
The legislation was brought to the Board by the Harvey Milk Lesbian/ Gay/Bisexual Democratic Club. The authors are Supervisors Ammiano and Katz. The co-sponsors are Supervisors Alioto, Bierman, Brown, Kaufman, Leal, Teng and Yaki. The Mayor has said he supports the legislation.

Process
The legislation was introduced in May and received significant media coverage. It was heard at the Government Efficiency and Labor Committee of the Board prior to being presented to the full Board for passage.

Workforce, June 1997, Vol. 76, No. 6, p. 40.

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