President Obama Extends Federal Long-Term Care & Sick Leave Benefits To Same-Sex Domestic Partners

June 19, 2009

Domestic partners of federal government workers now qualify for enrollment in dependent benefits under certain federal employee benefit plans but not federal health and pension benefits under a presidential memorandum signed by President Obama June 17, 2009.   The memorandum also signals that President Obama anticipates extending other federal benefits to same-sex domestic partners later this year.

The presidential memorandum calls for allowing the domestic partners of federal employees to be added to the long-term care insurance program and permitting employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.   However, the presidential memorandum did not extend federal health and pension benefits to same-sex domestic partners.  Instead, the presidential memorandum:

  • Orders all federal agencies and departments within the next 90 days to assess their other existing benefits to determine their authority to extend other existing benefits to same-sex domestic partners of their Federal employees and
  • Directs the Office of Personnel Management to issue guidance within 90 days to all executive departments and agencies regarding compliance with, and implementation of, the civil service laws, rules, and regulations, including 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(10), which make it unlawful to discriminate against Federal employees or applicants for Federal employment on the basis of factors not related to job performance.

You can read the presidential memorandum here.

Over the past decade, public and private employers increasingly have extended the availability of domestic partner benefits.  This trend is picking up more speed as various states have begun recognizing same-sex marriages or other official domestic partnership relationships and/or prohibiting discrimination in employment and other business transactions on the basis of sexual relationship.   The provision of these benefits continues to raise many tax and other operational issues, however.   Accordingly, businesses should seek the advice of competent legal counsel concerning these obligations.

Additional Resources & Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.  If your organization needs assistance with monitoring, assessing, or responding to these or other health care, employee benefit or human resources reforms,  please contact Ms. Stamer via e-mail here, or by calling (214) 270-2402.   For additional information about the experience, services, publications and involvements of Ms. Stamer specifically or to access some of her many publications, see here

For additional information about the experience, services, publications and involvements of Ms. Stamer specifically or to access some of her many publications, see here.

©2009 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. All rights reserved.


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