County Executive Falk and County Board Chairman McDonell Announce Extension of Family and Medical Leave-type Benefits to Employees with Domestic Partners
April 26, 2006
Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, County Board Chairman Scott McDonell and members of the Dane County Board of Supervisors today announced the introduction of an ordinance amendment that would enable employees to take time off to care for their domestic partners or partner’s children if they are suffering a serious illness, or for their domestic partners if they give birth or adopt a child. Specifically, the ordinance amendment would extend Family and Medical Leave-type benefits (often called FMLA) for domestic partnerships. (Domestic partnerships can apply to same-sex couples or unmarried couples of the opposite sex.)
“This is fair. We want to help employees who need time off to care for sick family members and all employees should have that right, regardless of their marital status,” said Falk.
“This is a right that my family enjoyed one year ago when my daughter Eleanor was born. We needed that time to recuperate and adjust to a new member of our family. It is a right that all county employees, no matter what type of family they have, should be able to use. Fairness dictates no less,” said McDonell.
This means that County employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for their domestic partners or their partner’s children, in the event of a serious medical condition or the birth (by the employee or their partner) or adoption of a child. The leave may be paid (vacation, sick or holiday time) or unpaid with benefits. These benefits are currently federally mandated for married couples and Falk and McDonell support extending them to county employees with domestic partners also. The employees taking leave will be assured job protection and protection from discipline for being absent.
Currently Dane County extends health insurance and other benefits to domestic partners of employees. About 70 employees out of 2100 full-time employees are expected to be eligible to use the benefits.
A resolution authorizing the extension will be introduced at the next County Board meeting and needs County Board approval and signature by the County Executive.
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