Sprint to Offer Same-Sex Partner Benefits

September 30, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Sprint Corp. will extend benefits to employees' same-sex domestic partners starting January 1.

The company does not know how many employees will request the coverage, the Kansas City Star reported. Jennifer Bosshardt, a Sprint spokeswoman, told the newspaper that Sprint will define domestic partners as same-sex partners and follow an existing industry standard to determine who will qualify.

Sprint also is considering expanding benefits to other nontraditional family members, Bosshardt said. In 2005, the company may offer a pilot program that would extend health-care benefits to other dependents, possibly including employees’ grandchildren and aging parents

“We’ve made the commitment to be an inclusionary company and to embrace diversity and inclusion in our entire corporate culture,” Bosshardt said, according to the Star. Bosshardt said the new benefit will strengthen the company’s ability to attract, retain and motivate employees and should likewise help the firm secure and retain relationships with vendors and customers.

The company, which has 61,000 employees, including 18,000 in the Kansas City area, spends approximately $500 million annually on health-care benefits. In addition to employees, the company insures about 130,000 dependents.