The City of Knoxville will join the very small number of Tennessee cities that extend benefits to employees' domestic partners, it announced today in a press release. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, both same-sex and opposite-sex partners could qualify for medical, dental, vision, and dependent life benefits.
"Last year, we expanded our employee nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This change in our benefits ensures that we are treating everyone fairly," Mayor Madeline Rogero said in the release.
The city researched the domestic partner benefits policies of about a dozen city governments and organzations, the release says, including the governments of Durham, N.C., Covington, Ky., Louisville, Ky., Indianapolis, and Maryville College.
To receive the partner benefits, employees will have to fill out affidavits on their "committed relationship," and show proof of financial interdependence.
The city also notes in the press release that domestic partner benefits may be treated as taxable income by the IRS for unmarried couples (both same-sex and opposite-sex).
The estimated $60,000 in costs will come from the city's $13 million benefits budget, the press release says.
Employees and their partners can start signing up for the benefits during the city's open enrollment period, which starts on Oct. 23.
We've contacted the city for more details, so stayed tuned!