Same-sex benefits covered

Photo by Blake Israel

Following the June 26 Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage in the United States, Tech will act upon recommendations from the Task Force on Family-Friendly Policies to expand benefits coverage to same-sex partners.

“Georgia Tech had worked on the expansion of married same-sex partner benefits for a long time,” said Archie Ervin, Vice President for Institute Diversity. “For instance, in 2011, the Institute’s Task Force on Family-Friendly Policies recommended expanding benefits coverage to include domestic and same-sex partners.”

According to Kim Harrington, Interim Associate Vice President for Human Resources, planning of the changes was conducted primarily by the University System of Georgia (USG). The other 30 schools within the USG will also undergo similar changes to policy. Prior to the Supreme Court decision, Tech did offer coverage for domestic partners on dental, life and vision insurance.

“Georgia Tech focuses on engaging faculty, staff, and students representing an array of backgrounds, perspectives, interests and talents,” Harrington said. “Inclusion of same-sex married partners aligns well with our goal of recruiting and retaining top talent, and reflects our commitment to welcoming, valuing, and promoting a culture of inclusivity.”

Although one of the goals of the Task Force was to extend benefits to same-sex partners, this was not legal until the Supreme Court ruling. According to Ervin, Tech can now progress toward the provision of equal treatment to married same-sex couples.

The Task Force also recommended that Tech’s current investments in child care should be examined in order to expand them to accommodate those with “unique” needs. The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage will allow Tech to move forward in that area, according to Ervin.

Between July 13 and Sept. 1, employees at Tech are able to register their same-sex spouse with USG benefit plans. If an employee has been married after June 26, the same-sex spouse will be able to be enrolled in benefits coverage via USG’s family status change procedures, which are already in place.

According to Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, the changes have been the result of much collaboration and communication between a number of different departments.