Office of the Human Resources
Domestic Partner Policy
Utica College extends the same benefits to persons who meet the College’s definition of “domestic partner” that the College presently extends to spouses of employees to the extent permitted by law and by the underwriting guidelines imposed by the insurance companies.
A domestic partner is an unrelated adult of the same or opposite sex of the employee with whom the employee is living in an intimate, long-term relationship with an exclusive commitment similar to marriage, in which the partners are jointly responsible for one another’s welfare and share financial obligations. In order to qualify for benefits, the domestic partnership must have been in existence for at least six (6) consecutive months with the expectation that the relationship will continue indefinitely.
In order for a domestic partner to be included in the programs listed below, a signed domestic partner application (available from the Office of Human Resources) must be submitted. Utica College reserves the right to request evidence that the eligibility requirements are being met as outlined in the application. (Refer to Proof of Cohabitation/financial interdependence form). It is the employee’s responsibility to notify Utica College if there is a change in status, which would make the domestic partner ineligible for benefits within thirty (30) days.
This domestic partner policy highlights the terms of Utica College’s benefits for full-time and half-time benefit eligible employees. The actual terms of the various employee benefit plans are stated in and governed by plan documents. Any inconsistency between the statements found here and the provisions of the applicable plan document(s) will be governed by the provisions of the applicable plan documents(s).
RETIREMENT PLAN: The employee has the right to designate anyone, including a domestic partner, as a beneficiary under the plan. A retired employee who elects a joint survivor annuity option may designate anyone, including a domestic partner, as a joint survivor (second annuitant) to receive 100%, two-thirds, or 50% of the income benefit.
LIFE INSURANCE: The employee may designate anyone, including a domestic partner, as beneficiary to receive death benefits. Domestic partners are not eligible to enroll in group life insurance offered by the college.
DISABILITY BENEFITS: Both short-term and long-term disability benefits are paid directly to the employee; and are, therefore, not affected. Domestic partners may be eligible for the survivor income benefit if they are identified in the claimant’s estate.
DENTAL INSURANCE: The employee will be required to make the same contribution toward the cost of that coverage as would be required for a spouse. For eligible dependent children of the partner, the premium would be the same as for an employee’s eligible children. The employee’s additional contribution for coverage for the domestic partner and/or the domestic partner’s children must be made on a post-tax basis unless they qualify as the employee’s dependents for federal incoming tax purposes.
HEALTH INSURANCE: The employee will be required to make the same contribution toward the cost of that coverage as would be required for a spouse. For eligible dependent children of the partner, the premium would be the same as for an employee’s eligible children. The employee’s additional contribution for coverage for the domestic partner and/or the domestic partner’s children must be made on a post-tax basis unless they qualify as the employee’s dependents for federal incoming tax purposes.
COBRA: Federal law and the underwriting guidelines of the insurance companies regulate continuation of health care benefits also known as COBRA. Under our insurance plans cobra independent election rights for domestic partners are not allowed. Continuation will be allowed only if the employee elects COBRA. If the employee does not elect COBRA, the partner’s coverage ends when the employee’s coverage ends.
CAFETERIA PLAN: The Internal Revenue Service does not recognize domestic partnerships. Therefore, unless a domestic partner or the partner’s dependent children qualify as dependents for federal income tax purposes, an employee’s contribution for their dental and medical insurance must be made on an after-tax basis.
TUITION-FREE COURSES AT UTICA COLLEGE: Domestic partners will be eligible to take tuition-free courses on the same basis as spouses.
UTICA COLLEGE HIGHER EDUCATION “CASH” GRANT PROGRAM: This program covers the natural or adopted children or the dependent stepchildren of eligible employees. Based on this definition, the children of a domestic partner would not be eligible for a Utica College grant unless the employee adopted them.
PAID TIME-OFF: By providing benefits to domestic partners on the same terms and conditions as provided married spouses, employees will be permitted to use sick leave accumulations and bereavement leave in the case of illness or death of the domestic partner, the partner’s children, or other eligible family members.
FACILITY USAGE: Domestic partners will be eligible to use College facilities (including athletic facilities and the Library) and attend Utica College events on the same basis as a spouse.
BOOKSTORE DISCOUNTS: Domestic partners will be eligible to receive a discount at the Bookstore on the same basis as a spouse.
L.14 Bereavement Leave