An equal benefits ordinance requires contractors with a state or local government to offer equal benefits to its employees. To comply with such a law, a contractor that offers health insurance and other benefits to employees' spouses must offer equivalent coverage to employees' domestic partners. One state and several cities and counties in the United States currently have equal benefits laws.
Married couples receive more than one thousand different federal-based benefits, in addition to many other governmental, societal benefits and employment-based associated with marriage. However, federal-based benefits are denied to same-sex partners because their relationships are not recognized by the federal government.
With that in mind, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors worked to create an equitable benefits policy. When the Board passed the law in June 4, 1996, the city of San Francisco became the first jurisdiction in the nation to address employment inequities faced by unmarried couples.
The purpose of the law is equal treatment. Employees with spouses and employees with domestic partners should receive the same compensation: salary and benefits. The law does not require city contractors to begin offering benefits not previously offered. If a contractor does not offer benefits to married employees, it is not required to offer benefits to employees in domestic partnerships.
California is the first state to have an equal benefits ordinance.
Twelve cities and counties have equal benefits ordinances.
Other cities have similar ordinances:
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