Same Sex Domestic Partner Policy
Wittenberg University is committed to diversification of the student body, and the faculty and staff as well as serving the needs of those diverse groups. In accordance with this commitment, to the extent allowable under State and Federal law, Wittenberg will provide the benefits and privileges extended to the spouse of legally married employees and the children of employee’s legal spouse to the same sex domestic partner of an employee and to the eligible children of that same-sex domestic partner.
Benefits would include, but not be limited to the following: health and dental Insurance, continuation coverage, Tuition Waiver/Scholarship, and leave benefits. Domestic partners and children of domestic partners are included in the definition of family for purposes of other policies that apply to family, such as access to the athletic facilities, use of the Thomas Library etc. Premium rates and benefit provisions will be consistent for all covered families. As privileges and benefits would change for legally married employees, they would similarly change for eligible same-sex domestic partners. Where benefits are governed by a formal plan document or a master policy, the exact terms of that plan or policy will govern.
Unless the employee’s domestic partner or child(ren) of the domestic partner qualifies as a dependent of the employee under Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code, the value of the benefits for the domestic partner and the domestic partner’s child(ren) will be considered part of the employee’s taxable income. (i.e., the value of such benefits will be imputed to the employee and listed on the employee’s Form W-2 as taxable income. Imputed income is the term the I.R.S. applies to the value of any benefit or service that should be considered income for the purposes of calculating an employee’s federal taxes.). This means the Imputed Income will be added to employee’s pay for tax purposes, and the additional taxes that the employee owes will be withheld from the employee’s regular pay.
Furthermore, domestic partners and their eligible children may not participate in the University’s Section 125 Plan for Pre-tax premium contributions (i.e., the employee may not contribute to the cost of coverage for domestic partners and eligible children on a pre-tax basis) or the Section 129 Plan for Health Care Reimbursement (i.e., the employee cannot seek reimbursement from the flexible spending accounts for any health care costs associated with domestic partners and their eligible children) unless they qualify as the employee’s dependent according to the Internal Revenue Service.
It is the sole responsibility of the employee to determine if the domestic partner and children of the domestic partner qualify as legal tax dependent(s) under IRS Section 152. If the employee determines that the employee’s domestic partner or child(ren) of the domestic partner qualify as a dependent(s) under IRS Section 152, the employee must submit a Certification of Tax-Qualified Dependents form to the Human Resources Department. The tax consequences of a domestic partnership are the responsibility of the employee, not the university.
DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
Domestic Partners are defined as two individuals of the same sex who, together, each meet all of the following criteria:
- Are eighteen (18) years of age or older
- Are competent to enter into a contract
- Are not legally married to, or legally separated from, nor the domestic partner of, any other person
- Are not related by blood closer than permitted under marriage laws of the State of Ohio
- Are living together and intend to do so indefinitely, and
Are in a relationship that is an exclusive mutual commitment meaning, the domestic partner and the employee:
- are financially interdependent;
- are jointly responsible for 'basic living expenses' including each other’s debts;and
- are jointly responsible for each others’ common welfare and mutual fidelity
- Have been living together as a couple for at least twelve (12) months prior to enrolling for Domestic Partner Benefits
- Intend to continue the domestic partner relationship indefinitely, while understanding the relationship is terminable at the will of either partner
ENROLLMENT AND ELIGIBILITY
In order to receive University benefits for a same-sex domestic partner and the domestic partner’s children, the employee must complete the enrollment forms, including an Affidavit that attests to their eligibility. In order to demonstrate proof of financial interdependence, the employee is required to submit documentation evidencing at least (3) three categories of financial interdependence, one of which must be proof of common ownership of real property (joint deed or mortgage agreement) or of common leasehold interest in residential property. Other documentation that satisfies this requirement includes proof of common ownership of a motor vehicle, proof of joint bank accounts or credit accounts, proof of the employee’s designation of the same-sex domestic partner as the employee’s primary beneficiary designation under the employee’s life insurance or retirement benefits, proof of the employee’s designation of the same-sex domestic partner as the employee’s beneficiary designation under the employee’s will, proof of the employee’s assignment of a durable power of attorney for property and financial affairs or a durable power of attorney for health care to the employee’s same-sex domestic partner.
Wittenberg or its applicable benefit providers shall have the sole and exclusive authority to make a final and binding determination as to whether any applicant qualifies as a domestic partner under this policy.
If the relationship with the domestic partner ends, the employee must provide notice by filing a Termination of Domestic Partnership form with the Human Resource Department attesting to the termination of the partnership. The notice of termination document must be filed with the Human Resources Department within fifteen (15) days of the end of the domestic partner relationship. New supporting documents must be completed if another qualifying domestic partner relationship occurs in the future.
Children of Domestic Partners Eligibility
Wittenberg employees may also enroll the child(ren) of an eligible domestic partner if the following criteria are met:
- Children of the domestic partner are unmarried, reside regularly with the employee and the domestic partner, and are under the legal custody and care of the domestic partner; OR
- The domestic partner is required to provide coverage for the children by a court order.