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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Domestic partner benefits

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Am I required to offer benefits to domestic partners the same as for employees' spouses? I want to offer some benefits to my employees but not be obligated to provide all benefits.

A: No. As a small business owner, you can decide how your firm defines its employee benefit plans unless your state laws specifically state otherwise. If you do decide to offer domestic partner benefits, Thompson Publishing suggests that you should consider "how "domestic partner" should be defined, how federal and state laws affect domestic partner benefits, whether you should offer benefits only to same-sex domestic partners, what, if any, proof of domestic partnership you should require, and what administrative issues, such as taxes, payroll/withholding, FMLA, COBRA and HIPAA, are involved". In any case, these factors should be addressed in your written employee benefit documents. can help incorporate these provisions into your benefit plan documents if you need professional help.


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