Yesterday, the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission made a formal recommendation that Allegheny County provide domestic partner benefits to County employees …
Whereas the City of Pittsburgh has made domestic partner health benefits available to its employees for approximately a decade, and,
Whereas in recent years benefits of this nature have been made available by other public employers including the Pittsburgh School District, Pennsylvania’s Court System, and many colleges and universities;
It is hereby resolved that the Commission recommends that Allegheny County take steps to make domestic partner benefits available to its employees.
This is a fairly impressive recommendation given that this was the second meeting of this all-volunteer body. They didn't really have to look around for evidence that this is the right AND economically sound thing to do (my interpretation).
The nuts and bolts are appropriately left to the Personnel Department. That shouldn't be too complicated as the recommendation points directly to several other entities that have made it work.
From Slag Heap
While there was some discussion of tax issues — under federal law, benefits for an unmarried partner count as taxable wages — McGough says, “The city found ways to deal with that years ago.”
Yes, this is a non-issue on the County level. It sucks that we pay taxes on health insurance that other people get for free, but it is up to the employee to do that cost-benefit analysis. The proper response would be to lobby the federal goverment to address this unfair taxation. UNFAIR TAXATION is the issue, not denial of health insurance.
I'm so pleased the HRC turned this around quickly. My personal opinion, as you may recall, was that Onorato was using this as a stalling tactic for some reason. But it is done, we know this can happen, should happen and now — let's make it happen. Before November, if you please.
The HRC is moving on to tackling discrimination issues.