Domestic-partnership benefits approved for SLC school district

Employees of the Salt Lake City School District will be able to participate in a domestic-partner health insurance plan starting this September. The announcement came after the district changed the policy to prohibit discrimination against students and employees based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

“We look forward to offering this benefit to our employees,” said McKell Withers, superintendent of schools, in a press release. “We have been able to negotiate with our new medical insurance provider, SelectHealth, to offer this choice without increasing premiums for the district or the employees.”

The school district will be making a switch to SelectHealth for health benefits and no insurance premium hikes will result from the added benefit of including domestic partnerships.

Salt Lake City will be the second school district in the state to offer domestic-partnership benefits to same-sex couples. Similar benefits are offered by Park City School District, Salt Lake City and County governments. Other notable Utah companies offering same-sex partner benefits include Intermountain Healthcare, one of the state’s largest employers aside from the Mormon Church and the state government.

It is also common for national companies to offer these benefits and according to the Human Rights Campaign, 83 of the Fortune 100 companies have same-sex partnership benefits.

Park City School District made the addition of same-sex partnership benefits in January when a new non-discrimination policy was enacted there. The school district employees almost 700 people. The Salt Lake City School District has nearly 3,000 employees, including 1,300 teachers. The school district is the ninth largest in the state.

Exact details of how to apply for the benefits will be distributed to the employees in the near future. However, one of the simplest ways to show a domestic partnership is to register with Salt Lake City’s Mutual Commitment Registry. To qualify for this registry, applicants must be Salt Lake City residents, share a primary residence and demonstrate financial dependability. To register, go to the SLCGov.com for more information.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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