Aflac Resolution: Same-Sex Domestic Partner Benefits

Equity Foundation will be filing the following resolution with Aflac for their shareholder meeting.  Click here to sign our petition.

WHEREAS:

Costs associated with employee turnover are significant and far-reaching. Replacement costs to a company can reach 30-50% of the annual salary of entry-level employees, 150% of the annual salary middle level employees, and up to 400 percent of an executive’s annual salary for specialized, high level employees.  

The proponents believe that companies who choose not to discriminate in the extension of benefits to same-sex domestic partners gain a competitive edge in recruitment and retention. The equal provision of benefits sends a message of respect and inclusion, and conveys a tangible commitment to the principle that equal work deserves equal pay.

Aflac does not extend same-sex domestic partner benefits to its employees. Companies in the insurance industry that do include Aetna, AIG, Chubb, The Hartford, ING North America, MetLife, Nationwide, Unum, State Farm, Wellpoint, Humana, Cigna and others.

Eighty-three percent of the Fortune 100 provided domestic partner benefits in 2011, up from 64% in 2004. A growing proportion of the Fortune 500 also provided them in 2011 (58%, from 40% in 2004). According to a 2005 Hewitt Associates study, 64% of employers companies who offered domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners found that related expenses rose no more than 1 percent; 88% experienced financial impacts of 2% or less, and only 5% saw costs rise 3% or greater. (See http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/domestic-partner-benefits-cost-and-utilization.)

On the occasion of scoring a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corp Equality Index, which required including full domestic partner benefits, Tom McInerney; chairman and chief executive officer, ING Americas stated:
“ING is committed to attracting and retaining top talent. This commitment is the foundation to ensuring that we develop strong diversity and inclusion practices that promote equal opportunities for every individual in our organization. We are proud to receive recognition specific to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) initiatives as it affirms our position that ING has created a welcoming environment in which individuals feel valued and respected.”

RESOLVED: shareholders request that the company provide same-sex domestic partner benefits to its employees within one year of Aflac’s 2012 annual meeting.

SUPPORTING STATEMENT:

Family-friendly benefits have become an important element of company strategies to address issues of work-life balance and recruitment and retention, as they become rising workforce priorities. We believe that companies offering family-friendly benefits profit from a more positive public image, and from factors such as increased recruitment and retention of skilled workers, improved employee productivity and morale, and improved quality of work-life that leads to reduced absenteeism, turnover, and stress.

As the baby boomers retire, the age of the average worker is projected to decrease over the next several decades. Competitive benefits packages can help retain younger workers and provide compensation beyond their relatively lower salary levels. 

In providing same-sex domestic partner benefits, the following areas should be included:

• Health benefits (medical, dental, vision, dependent coverage and COBRA benefits continuation)
• Retirement benefits (such as healthcare, pension plans and 401k’s), and
• Benefits that extend to married couples such as bereavement leave, relocation/travel assistance, education and tuition assistance, adoption assistance, credit union membership, disability and life insurance, and employee discounts.


[1] The State of the Workplace for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans, 2006-2007, Human Rights Campaign, at: http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/HRC_Foundation_State_of_the_Workplace_2007-2008.pdf .