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The Domestic-Partners Ordinance at a Glance 

Wednesday, Jan 8 1997
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* Effective June 1, 1997.
* Requires all contractors with the city and county of San Francisco to provide employees' domestic partners with the same benefits as spouses.

* Does not apply to subcontractors.
* Covers all benefits, including health care, bereavement, and family medical leave.

* Applies to all registered domestic partners -- straight and gay -- regardless of where they are registered. (To register in San Francisco, one partner must work in San Francisco, or both partners must live in the city. The filing fee is $35, and each person must be 18 or older.)

* Businesses are exempt from the law if no other contractor can perform the service, and in an emergency situation where a contractor without such benefits must do the work. The city can also waive the domestic-partners requirements if none of the contractors qualified for a certain job provide such benefits.

* Employers who can't provide spousal benefits for domestic partners, after taking "reasonable measures" to do so, can pay a cash equivalent instead. (However, employees can expect to pay taxes on that amount because those payments are considered "income.")

* Rules and regulations are yet to be drafted by the Human Rights Commission, the city agency that will oversee the new law.

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Tara Shioya

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