15-22: Domestic Partners


1. Policy

It is the policy of the California Institute of Technology to offer medical and dental insurance, family and personal leave, and other benefits to eligible (i.e., benefit-based) employees' same-sex domestic partners and their children.

For the purpose of implementing same-sex domestic partnerships at Caltech, the word "spouse" in all personnel memoranda is deemed to include the same-sex domestic partners of Caltech employees to the extent allowed by state and federal law.

2. General

"Domestic Partnership" is defined as two adults of the same sex who have chosen to share their lives in a committed relationship. The relationship must demonstrate the following characteristics:

a mutual and exclusive commitment to each other's well-being;

sharing the same regular and permanent residence with the intent to continue doing so indefinitely;

neither party is married to anyone nor has had another domestic partner within the prior six months;

both parties are of age for legal marriage; and are,

jointly responsible for each other's common welfare, and share financial and mutual obligations akin to those of marriage.

Financial interdependence may be demonstrated by certifying the existence of at least two of the following:

a joint mortgage or lease shared by the domestic partner;

designation of his or her domestic partner as beneficiary of life insurance and/or retirement contracts;

joint ownership of a motor vehicle, joint checking or credit accounts;

designation of powers of attorney for durable property and/or healthcare;

designation of his or her domestic partner as primary beneficiary of the employee's will, if one has been executed.

3. Procedure

For family care leaves, family illness and bereavement leaves, and other benefits customarily provided to husbands and wives of Caltech employees, no proof of domestic partnership is necessary.

For benefits provided through third parties (medical and dental insurance), Caltech employees must register their domestic partnership with the Benefits Office of Human Resources, Mail Stop 105-06.

Benefit-based employees who wish to register their same-sex domestic partnership with the Institute must complete and return Caltech Form P15-22, "Certification of Domestic Partnership," to the Benefits Office of Human Resources. Form P15-22 certifies that the domestic partnership meets the criteria as defined in the prior section.

Enrollment in benefit programs must occur within 30 days of filing the "Certification of Domestic Partnership" with the Benefits Office of Human Resources or during open enrollment periods.

Employees and their domestic partners filing Form P15-22 agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of all benefits offered by the Institute. Employees also agree to accept any additional tax liability incurred by enrolling in any benefit plan.

Employees who terminate domestic partnerships registered with the Benefits Office of Human Resources must notify the Benefits Office by completing the "Termination of Domestic Partnership" form, Caltech Form P15-22T, within 30 days. A new affidavit of domestic partnership cannot be filed within six months of the date of Form P15-22T.

4. Exceptions

Any exception to this policy requires the approval of the Vice President for Business and Finance or designee.