Thursday, May 16, 2002
Paul Schwartz (510) 987-9924

UC Regents approve new retirement benefits for employees with domestic partners

The University of California Board of Regents voted today (May 16) to extend to eligible UC employees with domestic partners a set of retirement benefits mirroring those now offered to married UC employees.

Employees who are members of the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) and their qualified domestic partners and/or family members will now be able to receive two types of death-related retirement benefits:

(1) Pre-retirement survivor income -- income paid to an eligible domestic partner, eligible child(ren) or eligible parent if the UCRP member dies while employed at UC, and
(2) Post-retirement survivor continuance -- income paid to an eligible domestic partner, eligible child(ren) or eligible parent if the UCRP member dies after leaving UC.

Prior to today's actions, only UCRP members with spouses and/or dependent children or dependent parents could qualify for these benefits.

"UC is constantly working to offer the broadest array of benefits financially possible in order to give employees choices that recognize and reflect their diverse needs," said Judy Boyette, UC associate vice president for human resources. "These new retirement benefits will give many UC employees and their loved ones significant additional financial security."

Shane Snowdon, chair of UC's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association, applauded the regents' actions. "For many of us, the idea of not being able to pass on our hard-earned retirement benefits has been a very real concern. We are deeply grateful to the university for the increased financial peace of mind this gives us and our families."

As requested by the regents at their January meeting, three proposals in all were submitted today: one concerning retirement benefits for employees with same-sex domestic partners; one concerning retirement benefits for employees with opposite-sex domestic partners; and one concerning retirement benefits for unmarried employees without domestic partners. The same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners proposals, which offer identical benefits, were adopted. It was agreed that the proposal for unmarried employees with no domestic partners warranted further analysis.

It is estimated that 2 percent of the UCRP membership with same-sex domestic partners, and 6 percent of the UCRP membership with opposite-sex domestic partners, would qualify for the new survivor income benefits. Currently, there are approximately 128,500 members in the university's retirement plan.

The combined benefits approved today will require a total one-time cost to the UC Retirement Plan of approximately $139 million and an annual cost of $7 million. These costs will be covered by the assets of the retirement plan.

The new benefits approved today will be effective July 1, 2002, for eligible UCRP members and will not apply to UCRP retired members with retirement dates of June 30, 2002, or earlier. Where appropriate, these benefits are subject to collective bargaining agreements.

UC currently also provides health benefits to employees with same-sex domestic partners health benefits. As of Oct. 31, 2001, there were approximately 950 employees with same-sex domestic partners participating in UC medical, vision and dental plans.

UC employs more than 160,000 people systemwide at its 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national laboratories.

UC offers a wide variety of employment benefits and opportunities, including:

- Retirement and savings investment plans
- Medical plan
- Dental plan
- Vision plan
- Paid vacation -- three weeks per year (or more depending upon classification)
- Paid sick leave -- 12 days per year with unlimited accrual
- Paid holidays -- 13 per year
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Accident insurance
- Legal services plan
- Auto insurance and homeowner/renter insurance
- Tax-savings plans
- Institutional commitment to work/life balance
- Ability to pursue career opportunities at numerous locations

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