This policy sets forth the circumstances under which the University shall provide employee benefits to University employees and their eligible dependents who are in a civil union or other similar relationship as recognized by this policy.
- A qualified full-time University employee is an individual who meets the established eligibility criteria as defined in University policies and recognized Collective Bargaining Agreements.
- A qualified full-time University employee eligible to participate in the Monmouth University Employee Benefit Plans who has entered into a civil union in accordance with New Jersey Law, N.J.S.A. 37:1-28 et seq., shall be eligible to cover his/her civil union partner and eligible dependent children in any eligible University benefit plan.
- Any employee currently enrolled in the University’s benefit program, including the Voluntary Incentive Plan and the University’s Tuition Remission Benefit, with a domestic partner shall not be required under this policy to enter into a civil union in order to maintain his/her benefits but shall be allowed to continue in the benefit program for so long as he/she is continuously employed by the University. Such employees shall be allowed to make changes in coverage and to add or drop dependent coverage during the course of their employment.
- All current University employees not receiving benefits for a same sex partner as of December 31, 2007, or new employees hired subsequent to December 31, 2007, who desire to receive benefits for same sex partners and eligible dependents must have entered into a civil union under Paragraph B of this Section or have a registered affidavit of domestic partnership pursuant to the New Jersey Domestic Partnership Act, N.J.S.A. 26:8A-1 et seq., dated prior to February 19, 2007, or otherwise meeting the requirements of N.J.S.A. 26:8A-4.1, in order to receive such benefits. The University shall recognize equivalent proof of same sex civil union or formal domestic partnership agreements from states other than New Jersey for the purposes of this Paragraph.
APPLICATION OF FEDERAL LAW
- Because the Internal Revenue Code does not view a civil union or domestic partner as dependents for tax purposes, the cost of the civil union or domestic partner’s coverage may be subject to federal tax. Employer health benefits (which includes medical, dental, and vision) as well as tuition remission benefits provided to a civil union partner are normally subject to federal taxes and considered as imputed income.
- The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) provides coverage continuation rights to certain employees and their qualified beneficiaries that are participants in a group healthcare plan. It is important to note that COBRA is regulated by several federal agencies, but not by any New Jersey state agency. Civil union partners and domestic partners are not considered qualified beneficiaries under the federal law and therefore are not eligible for the continuation of coverage provisions offered under the COBRA law.
- Benefits may be obtained during the established University open enrollment periods or special enrollment periods that may otherwise be available.
- In order for individuals who meet the requirements of a civil union partnership to participate in University benefits, the University employee must provide a New Jersey civil union certificate, an affidavit of domestic partnership, or similar valid documentation from a state other than New Jersey that recognizes same sex civil unions or formal domestic partnerships.
- Civil union and qualified domestic partners must be enrolled for coverage at the time of the employee’s initial eligibility for benefits. Employees may also obtain coverage for a new civil union or qualified domestic partner by providing the appropriate documentation along with an application for benefits within thirty (30) days of the date of such union or formal domestic partnership. Otherwise, civil union and qualified domestic partners may be added during any open enrollment period.
- If there is change in the status of the civil union or qualified domestic partnership, the employee shall notify the University in writing within thirty (30) days of the effective date of such change. The civil union or qualified domestic partner’s benefits, if participating in any, will terminate effective the day of such termination of civil union or domestic partner status. The civil union or domestic partner shall not be entitled to continue coverage under any applicable group plan and will be responsible for securing an individual policy or other group coverage in which he/she may be eligible.
An employee who makes false statements about satisfying the eligibility criteria under this policy or fails to notify the University of a change in status shall be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including discharge, loss of benefits and shall be responsible for reimbursement to the University for any costs it incurs.
REPEAL OF PRIOR POLICIES
This policy specifically rescinds any and all previous policies, including policies issued under the title “Domestic Partner Benefits,” addressing this and related topics with regard to University employees.