BOT 407: Domestic Partner Benefits

Michigan State University will add benefit eligibility for same-sex domestic partners of regular faculty and applicable staff who meet the following criteria. They:

  1. are same-sex and for this reason are unable to marry each other under Michigan law,
  2. are in a long-term committed relationship, have been in the relationship for at least 6 months, and intend to remain together indefinitely,
  3. are not married to others and neither has another domestic partner,
  4. are at least 18 years of age and have the capacity to enter into a contract,
  5. are not related to one another closely enough to bar marriage in Michigan,
  6. share a residence and have done so for more than 6 months,
  7. are jointly responsible to each other for the necessities of life,
  8. provide a signed "partnership agreement" that obligates each of the parties to provide support for one another, and provides for substantially equal division, upon termination of the relationship, of earnings during the relationship and any property acquired with those earnings.

Domestic partners' children will be eligible for health and dental benefits if they:

  1. are qualified and claimed as an IRS-defined dependent by the domestic partner, and
  2. are members of the employee's household or a full-time student, and
  3. are unmarried and under the age of 19 (up to age 25 if an IRS-defined dependent).

Employees enrolling domestic partners will be asked to complete a Domestic Partnership Declaration and provide a signed "partnership agreement." They will have to keep a "partnership agreement" meeting the criteria described above in effect to be eligible for domestic partner benefits.

The following benefits will be provided to domestic partners and their dependents as for a regular employee's spouse and other dependents:

  1. family and medical leave
  2. COBRA continuation
  3. course fee courtesy
  4. ID cards
  5. access to library, recreational, and athletic facilities
  6. university apartments
  7. parental, sick, and bereavement leaves
  8. child care services
  9. health insurance*
  10. dental insurance*
  11. post-retirement benefits*
  12. employee-paid life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance*

(*These benefits will be provided on the same basis as for other employees if they can be renegotiated with carriers to obtain equivalent coverage without a premium surcharge.)

The University will provide a premium contribution for domestic partner benefits comparable to that provided for a regular employee's spouse and dependents (subject to taxation as required by federal, state, and other applicable law).

MSU bargaining units will be contacted to determine their interest in negotiating domestic partner benefits for support staff.

Domestic partner benefits will be implemented as quickly as possible for faculty and applicable staff after eligibility is communicated and a special enrollment period is held.

The actions authorized by this resolution shall not alter or amend the University's Anti-Discrimination Policy nor shall they be deemed or construed to supplement or limit the protections of any individual thereunder. The Anti-Discrimination Policy shall not be interpreted to provide rights for heterosexual domestic partners.

Domestic partner benefits are subject to future plan changes that may be negotiated/agreed with employee groups.

Enacted: 9/12/97

Retired Policy No. 04-17-04