9/30/11: This week, NTEU Chapter 293 filed a national grievance against the SEC for its continuing failure to implement Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement (HIPR) benefits for domestic partners. The SEC first signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to provide these HIPR benefits in September of 2009. Over the past two years, however, the agency has failed to comply with this agreement.
No SEC employee should have to worry about how to cover the costs of insurance for their partner or their partner's dependent children. The HIPR benefit agreed to by the SEC is a unique one which would allow employees to recover the lesser of 85% of the actual cost for health benefits coverage for a domestic partner’s self only or self and family non-subsidized health insurance plan, or the maximum employer monthly contribution for any FEHB insurance option for the Plan Year. Under the agreement, these reimbursements were to occur semiannually.
"I am extremely disappointed that the SEC is not taking the steps necessary to implement this agreement," Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman noted today. " ChapCChapter 293 has been at the forefront of this issue by working for domestic partner benefits at the SEC. We have been very patient in working with the agency to make this happen. But the delays in implementation have gone on now for over two years since the SEC signed the agreement. This appears to be further evidence that the workforce at the SEC is not a priority for this current senior management team."
The SEC is behind the times on this issue. Indeed, more than 53 percent of Fortune 500 companies already offer domestic partner benefits to their workers—as do many public employers, including 13 states and 201 local governments. Thus, aside from the issue of the basic fairness and the importance of leading by example, the SEC should be providing these benefits to remain competitive with the private sector.
The Union will keep you updated on the progress of this grievance.