Obama Orders Some Benefits Extended to Federal Worker Same-sex Partners

June 17, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - President Barack Obama was scheduled Wednesday to sign an executive order that the State Department and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should offer benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of federal employees in the civil service and the foreign service.

A White House announcement said the “Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination” is intended to follow up already-completed reviews by OPM and State Department officials about the benefits they can extend without getting additional legal authority. “Both identified a number of such benefits,” the White House announcement said of the two agencies’ reviews.

For civil service employees, domestic partners of federal employees can be added to the long-term care insurance program; supervisors can also be required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.

Meanwhile, the White House said, for foreign service employees, a number of benefits were identified, including the use of medical facilities at posts abroad, medical evacuation from posts abroad, and inclusion in family size for housing allocations.

The announcement said the heads of all other executive branch departments and agencies were being told to do their own reviews about benefits they administer that might be similarly extended, and to report the results of those reviews to the OPM.