Why UMR can offer partner benefits but Rochester can not

I asked our HR director Linda Hillenbrand why we can not offer our employees the same partner benefits that UMR offers theirs.  I thank Linda for getting the answer.  It was not what I wished to hear, but I understand.  I find it unfortunate that there are big state government policies that we can not change that make us more discriminatory and less desirable for a group of talented people.

Michael,

I apologize for the delayed response to your question as to why City/County organizations are required to follow state statutes relative to medical plan designs (same-sex partner benefits) while the University of Minnesota/Rochester is not required to do such. 

In speaking with the HR Staff at the University, I learned it was formed in 1851 while Minnesota did not become a state until around 1858.  As a result, the U of M is identified as “constitutionally incorporated” and is not required to follow some of the statutes that we are, medical plan design being one of them.  They can chose to follow some of these statutes but are not necessarily mandated to do so.  And that is how they are able to offer medical plan benefits to same-sex partners.  Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Linda Hillenbrand

Director HR, SPHR, CCP | City of Rochester

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