Stellantis to offer domestic partner benefits to 14K salaried employees

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For Doug Furgason, it’s important that his company be inclusive.

He is therefore pleased that Stellantis is again offering its non-negotiated US employees benefits in addition to spouses’ pensions.

“This is the company that recognizes that there are different aspects and ways of life for people and we should have the same benefits,” said Furgason, whose job at the automaker is to manage the packaging and logistics of the exported parts.

For employees with same-sex partners, there were life partner benefits until 2015.

This year’s US Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal across the country was a victory for gay rights, but it also resulted in many corporations, including automakers, benefiting from domestic partner benefits Spouse benefits for their same-sex employees abolished partners.

With the resumption of the program on January 1st, however, it will also be offered to employees with partners of the opposite sex, which has not previously been the case. The company, which emerged from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot maker PSA Group in January, said approximately 14,000 employees in the United States will be eligible.

“Offering domestic partner services to all eligible employees regardless of their partner status embodies the purpose and values ​​of our company and enables us to meet the needs of a diverse and dynamic workforce and the expectations of potential employees,” said Dana Keefer, HR manager at Stellantis North America it in a press release.

The announcement on Monday coincides with National Coming Out Day, which is when the company will also light the Pentastar purple at the top of its tower on I-75 in Auburn Hills through October 21. The purple lighting has become an annual tradition for the automaker.

Doug Furgason, who heads the packaging and logistics of export parts for Stellantis, with his dog Ruth.

Furgason said that when the company outwardly demonstrates support for the LGBTQ community, including sponsoring the annual Motor City Pride parade and festival last month, it sends a message that these employees are welcome.

“People will do their best work when they are comfortable and don’t have to carry other loads or anything,” he said.

Furgason, 32, is the co-chair of the company’s Prism Business Resource Group for LGBTQ + employees. He is gay and single and lives in Clawson with his pit bull Ruth.

Furgason said he will not take advantage of the life partner now, but it is important to offer it.

“As a society, there are many different reasons you could be in a domestic partnership,” said Furgason. “I feel that marriage is being given less importance.”

Furgason has been with the company for five years. Growing up, he said, he was “not exposed to so much positive queer examples” and saw success then in marrying a woman and raising a family. Now he sees success differently and thinks it is important to encourage other positive images.

Lottie Holland, director of diversity, inclusion and engagement at Stellantis-North America, said the company has research showing that 7% of US adults live with an unmarried partner.

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“Things are changing and we want to be on the front lines,” she said.

Lottie Holland, Director-Diversity, Inclusion, Engagement and EEO Compliance, Stellantis-North America.

In such a competitive job market, companies are also looking for ways to stand out, and Holland said she expected the domestic partner benefits would be of interest to candidates.

“We want to be able to attract and retain top talent, so these will be some of the benefits that those top talent can expect. This is our way of doing it justice, ”she said.

She said she expected other automakers to follow suit. Like Stellantis, Ford and GM offer spouse benefits unless state law allows civil partners to be eligible.

Holland said the program would “include all of the benefits we would give to a legally married couple”.

Active employees must meet a number of eligibility requirements, such as: B. a permanent employment relationship of at least one year, living in the same apartment and shared responsibility for social and financial obligations.

Special benefits include health, dental, vision, life insurance, paid parental leave, moving assistance in the United States, and leasing of company vehicles.

The program will be limited to non-collective bargaining employees at the time of introduction, as the employees represented by the UAW are in the middle of their current contract. Holland said the company looks forward to discussing it with the UAW during the next round of contract talks.

“This is definitely an area of ​​consideration and an issue with the UAW in 2023,” she said.

Authors Jamie L. LaReau and Phoebe Wall Howard contributed to this report. Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence. Become a subscriber.