Thirty-three percent of state and local government workers and 29% of private-sector workers have access to health care benefits for same-sex domestic partners, according to a new U.S. Department of Labor study, its first one documenting domestic-partner benefits.
The inclusion of such benefits “provides a better, fuller picture of employee benefits in workplaces across our nation,” according to a statement issued by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
The report, Employee Benefits in the United States, was released today and is a component of the annual National Compensation Survey, compiled by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among its other findings are that about half of state and local government employees have access to survivor benefits for same-sex partners, compared to just 7% in the private sector. This largely reflects the differences in pension plans offered in the public versus the private sector.
LGBT groups applauded the inclusion of domestic-partner benefits. “With each effort to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees in surveys like this, the Department of Labor moves us closer to being able to better serve the community,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in a statement. “Data collection is fundamental to addressing the disparities in employment, health, education, and income facing our community.”