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Domestic Partner Benefits are Catching on

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]

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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]

The Paperwork

Each benefits provider has rules about who qualifies as a domestic partner, and couples may need to submit paperwork — notarized affidavit, proof of joint bank account, shared mortgage or shared vehicle ownership, for example — to substantiate their relationship. Plus, payroll deductions have to be set up carefully, as healthcare premium payments for domestic partners are not pretax as they are for dependents.

Who Offers Domestic Partner Benefits

54 of the 100 companies on our list

39 Florida-based companies on the list

68% of small companies on the list

71% of midsized companies on the list

19% of large companies on the list

Breakdown by Industry

Industry Companies Offering
Construction 6
Law firms 6
Financial services 5
Consulting 4
Engineering/environmental consulting 4
Hospitality 4
Staffing/employee leasing/career management 4
Technology/telecom 4
Advertising/PR /marketing 3
Insurance services 3
Real estate 3
Accounting 2
Architecture 2
Non-profit 2
Government 1
Manufacturing 1
Source: Best Companies survey

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Florida's Best Companies to Work For 2011
Section Lists and Features

Best Large Companies
(250 or more employees)
Executive Sounding Board
What makes your company a Best Company to Work For?
Best Midsized Companies
(50 to 249 employees)
Training
Well-Trained
Domestic Partner Benefits
Catching On
Best Small Companies
(15 to 49 employees)
Values
Engineering a Best Company
Employee Retention
Long-Term Relationships
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