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Relevant Laws to Domestic Partner Benefits

What are the employment laws that are relevant to domestic partner benefits and how these laws impact employer's policies. Bearing in mind a detailed explanation of what domestic partner benefits at the work place is, what it entails, types of domestic partner benefits, how domestic partner benefits impacts an employer's policy, various court cases on the impact of employment law on domestic partner benefits, among others.

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What domestic partner benefits are, what it entails, the types, and impact on business.

Domestic partners are unmarried people living together in what is presumably a relationship based on something more than friendship. There are many implications of domestic partner benefits (DPB). It includes access to social security, housing, food stamps, veterans programs, pensions, estates, and even educational loan programs.

Businesses might offer such benefits in order to expand the pool of possible employment applicants. There is also the general argument of basic fairness. Yet, in a 2005 study, only about 1% of domestic partners actually accept these benefits, meaning that the legislative and judicial debate is purely symbolic. These benefits are not subject to income tax in states that recognize them (Solomon, 2006).

For example, the California law states:

Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses. (Cal. Fam. Code § 297.5(a))

It's impact on businesses is generally similar. Employers do have the right to decide whether a union is, in fact, a domestic partnership under the law. Usually, there is a time period that the couple has to be together. They also must live together and have done so for some time. There is also the demand, very common, of proof of financial interdependence. For those in states that have such a law, the employer can request to see the certificate that shows a civil partnership exists (Braitman, 2008)..

Employers are worried about civil unions being confused with "dependents." This becomes an important area of concern. Private health insurers normally define these unions as exclusive relationships lasting for more than six months and are over 18 years old. They cannot be related by blood except in those few states that permit it (Solomon, 2006).

The Williams Institute in 2006 compiled a report on DPBs and their relation to the economy. They do express concern on increased costs of medical and other costs, yet, many firms do not record any increased costs, because these benefits are almost never claimed. Yet, the majority of Fortune 500 firms have some plan for DPBs (Badgett and Gates, 2006).

The employment laws that are relevant to domestic partner benefits and how these laws impact employer's policies.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is one of the more important pieces of federal legislation concerning domestic partnerships. This requires that firms with more than 20 employees that also maintain group health insurance extend health benefits to, among other groups, domestic partners. While the federal law does not mandate the partnership clause, California does.

The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 mandates 12 weeks of ...

Solution Summary

The employment laws that are relevant to domestic partner benefits are determined. The types of domestic partner benefits are determined. How these benefits impact an employer's policy is determined.