Domestic Partnership Benefits for City EmployeesBy
On Feb. 9th your Asheville City Council will consider the question of whether to provide equal compensation for equal work. Domestic Partnership Benefits (DPB) for city employees with same-sex partners address a number of very important social and economic factors:
- Improve recruitment and retention of quality employees
- Provide equal compensation for equal work to our employees who are denied the option to marry
- Improve Ashevilleâ€™s reputation as one friendly to our LGBT citizens
- Improve Asheville’s reputation as friendly to gay tourists
- Strengthen families through health, stability, and respect
- Compete with private sector employers
- Bolster Asheville’s reputation as a creative, accepting, diverse economic climate for entrepreneurs
Providing Domestic Partner Benefits to same-sex employees will also:
I’ve moved forward with this initiative now because City staff will be presenting an analysis of our health and benefits packages in a worksession on March 9th. Including our LGBT employees is crucial. Seven other government entities in North Carolina have already passed DPB. Â Three of them, including Mecklenburg County, passed same-sex only DPB. It’s perfectly legal, responsible, and just.
I’ll be offering a lot more on the subject between now and the Feb. 9th meeting. Stay tuned.
Follow me after the jump to learn more about how this simple step forward can benefit us all and how you can help make it a reality.
As far as the effectiveness of our City Government goes, being able to recruit and retain quality employees is central to success. 270 of the Fortune 500 companies are already offering DPB, and we’re competing for talent. According to a 2005 Hewitt Associates study, the number one reason for offering DPB was to attract and retain employees. In a time of salary freezes and job uncertainty, this is a way to let employees know we value them.
Our LGBT city employees are city employees. Their families are families of city employees. We ought to offer equal compensation for equal work. Â This is an issue of basic fairness and respect. Since same-sex and transgendered couples are prohibited from marriage in North Carolina, they are also barred from accessing Asheville’s spousal benefits, including health, bereavement, and family medical leave. We have a responsibility to correct this inequity.
Offering DPB will strengthen families.Â The following groups have endorsed DPB as well as other important measures to create equality for LGBT Americans – American Medical Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychological Association.
The mere mention of DPB being on Asheville’s radar warranted a mention in The Advocate, a news magazine marketed to LGBT people worldwide. By making this policy a reality, Asheville’s reputation as a city that’s friendly to LGBT citizens and visitors will continue to grow. There is a $64.5 billion LGBT tourism market in the United States.
Demonstrating our city’s commitment to our LGBT citizens will add to its economic resilience and potential for economic growth.Â “In The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida demonstrates that a communityâ€™s success in attracting and retaining high-tech business is strongly correlated with its success in providing a safe, respectful, and congenial environment.” – link.
“this link betweenÂ diversity and economic success was first proposed in a Brookings Institution paper (Florida and Gates 2002) exploring the relationship between technology and tolerance. The authors demonstrate a strong link between a thriving tech-oriented economy and diverse populations, including those with high concentrations of gay couples. The presence of a large gay and lesbian population serves as one signal of a high level of community diversity, tolerance, and acceptance for people who are different. This tolerance, the authors find, creates low barriers to entry for all people into the labor market and enables firms to draw from the widest possible mix of creative and innovative employees.”
If you agree that offering Domestic Partnership Benefits to City Employees is long overdue, then please help to make this policy a reality. You can find a handy fact sheet by clicking here. Share it with your friends. Spread the word on social media. Write an email to your City Council. Write a Letter to the Editor. Come voice your support at the February 9th meeting of City Council.
Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. We can win this one, but it’ll take all of us standing up for equality to make it happen.