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Current and retired gay and lesbian employees of Palm Beach County, Fla., will get the same benefits as married employees and retirees, under a new policy unanimously passed by county commissioners on Tuesday. The benefits include: sick leave, bereavement leave, and long-term disability as well as health, dental, vision, and life insurance. Dependent children or an employee's domestic partner would also be eligible for insurance coverage. Palm Beach County employs approximately 6,000 workers. Insurance coverage will go into effect on January 1.
Palm Beach County commissioner Jeff Koons first introduced the proposal last February at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a gay rights group. "By offering your employees these benefits, in times of family emergencies, and with regard to the provision of health insurance coverage, domestic partners--both gay and nongay--of county employees will be treated in the same manner as spouses, who are automatically entitled to benefits based on marital status," said Human Rights Council founder Rand Hoch. "By doing this, all families of your employees will have access to the same employee benefits." (Advocate.com)