Providing Benefits for Unmarried Domestic Partners

Employers around the globe are increasingly recognizing their employees' domestic partnerships as a basis for extending human resource benefits. The practice has generated a number of human resource policy implications and has created a variety of legal, economic, and social issues and considerations. These issues and considerations have often created political and social controversy, which is beginning to subside at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Organizations that develop domestic partner programs hope these practices will help the organization accomplish its goals. Before starting programs, organizations usually investigate the cost-benefit analysis of both tangibles and intangibles in implementation. For example, some of the proposed benefits of domestic partner programs include a more committed workforce and lower turnover. Possible costs of implementation include coordination of the programs, costs associated with purchasing additional equipment, and resistance on the part of other employees including managerial staff. Brief History The first employers to start offering domestic-partner benefits (DPB) in the 1980s were among a small-but-growing group of gay-owned enterprises. In the early 1990s, larger corporations began offering these benefits. Within the span of that decade, there was a rapid rise in the numbers and types of employers that began offering DPB. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation is one organization that tracks the changes in domestic-partner benefits among employers. When hard benefits are offered to and obtained by an employee, the value of those benefits is now taxed by the federal government as income to the employee. Legislation has been introduced to eliminate this tax, which ma... ... middle of paper ... ...anizations will use a more results-oriented approach to work, especially in areas where employees are self-directed and function at a more autonomous level. To resolve equity concerns, it is likely that domestic partner policies will be renamed work-balance policies. Regardless of the name of the program, the underlying goal will be resolution of role conflict to the benefit of the employee, organization, and society. Works Cited Adams, J. Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer's Guide: Washington, DC: Thompson: (2007): p19-20 Hunt, G. Laboring for Rights: Unions and Sexual Diversity Across Nations: Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press: (2008): p10-11 McNaught, B. Domestic Partner Issues in the Workplace: New York: St. Martin's Press: (2005): p59-60 Mickens, E. 100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians. New York: Pocket Books: (2008): p49-50

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