Married same-sex workers at General Motors can now avail of same health care insurance offered to married opposite-sex employees. In a statement, GM said that married same-sex GM employees can add spouses to their health care plans at any time "within one year from their date of marriage or during the next annual enrollment period with proof of a valid, legal marriage license."
The new policy recognizes same-sex marriages regardless of the state of residence. According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index 2013, fellow Detroit 3 carmakers Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group also provide employees domestic partner benefits. GM said the decision, which became official on Oct. 30, does not change the benefit plan and policy rules covering same-sex domestic partners, which has been effective since the start of the century.
Prior to the changes, employees had to sign an affidavit that proves that they and their partners are sharing, among other things, finances and residency, according to GM spokeswoman Lynda Messina.The new policy likewise does not affect other items like life insurance beneficiary designations. GM's policy change allows lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees to acquire health care insurance for their partners without being stricken by a tax penalty.
Pension and savings plans are also included. GM made the change as the US Congress mulls new laws for preventing workplace discrimination. The US Senate recently passed a measure in a 64-32 vote that outlaws workplace discrimination against LGBT employees, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill would forbid government agencies, unions and private employers having over 15 employees from making employment decisions based on sexual orientation or identity.