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Congress looks at its workplace policies

Steve Henn Dec 1, 2009
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Congress looks at its workplace policies

Steve Henn Dec 1, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: If you want to know whether a company offers health benefits for domestic partners, look at that company’s size — the bigger employers are much more likely to offer those benefits. There are exceptions, though, like WalMart, ExxonMobile — and Uncle Sam. Well now, Congress is taking another look at the government’s workplace policies, as Marketplace’s Steve Henn tells us.


Steve Henn: Eighty-three of the 100 largest employers in America offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners. But until now, the Federal government has not. Democratic Congresswomen Tammy Baldwin wants to change that:

Tammy Baldwin: This is an issue about fairness and about good business practices. At a root level, this is about equal pay for equal work.

So Baldwin’s introduced a bill that would offer health benefits to the domestic partners for federal employees. Allison Herwitt at the Human rights Campaign:

Allison Herwitt: In addition, the partners or lesbian and gay workers would be able to participate in federal retirement, life insurance and worker’s compensation programs.

A companion bill has a Republican co-sponsor in the Senate, but some conservatives in worry it could open up the floodgates to fraud.

Dan Burton: The language in this bill concerns me because of its vagueness.

Dan Burton is a Republican from Indiana:

Burton: Lets say somebody says Joe and I moved in together three days ago and he’s my domestic partner.

Burton’s point: How do you know? But Baldwin counters domestic partners would have to sign affidavits affirming their relationship, and they could face fraud charges for lying.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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