April 16, 2014

Domestic Partner Benefits are Catching on

Slightly more than half of the companies on our list offer domestic partner benefits.

More than half of the companies on the Best Companies to Work For list offer medical insurance and other benefits to employees' domestic partners. Those 54 companies are mostly small and midsized firms — only six have more than 250 employees.

Although cohabitating unmarried opposite-sex couples can use domestic partner benefits, usually same-sex couples are the intended users. For that reason, offering such coverage was once a controversial move.

Most companies report a positive response to the benefit, although some companies that offer the benefit say no employee has enrolled a domestic partner.

Companies cited a variety of reasons for offering the benefits — from "it's just the right thing to do" to client requirements to the competitive advantage it gives them.

• Restor Telecom
Leesburg - No. 37 / Midsized Company - Telecom

Laura M. Sapp
"We're thought of as a progressive employer," says Laura M. Sapp, director of human resources at Leesburg-based Restor Telecom. The company began offering the option in 2009, when its research showed how many employers were offering it. Restor had a number of employees in domestic partner relationships.
[Photo: Jeffrey Camp]

TekPartners/MedPartners HIM
Coral Springs - No. 19 / Small Company - Staffing

Lauren Hartnett
"The attraction to employees of a comprehensive benefits and retirement package has always been well-documented," says Lauren Hartnett, a marketing specialist at staffing agency TekPartners. The Coral Springs-based company began offering the benefits five years ago. Even with tax and cost issues, Hartnett says, the company's experience has been positive. "We designed our benefits package to fit a diverse group of people, which in turn gives us a competitive recruitment edge."
[Photo: Eileen Escarda]

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