A proposal to extend benefits to same-sex partners will be brought before the University of Nebraska Board of Regents during its meeting Friday.
The president of the four-campus system, J-B Milliken, said the university must make the move to stay competitive both with similar institutions and with other businesses.
“In Nebraska, a number of major companies in the state, ConAgra, Union Pacific, Peter Kiewit, Mutual of Omaha, HDR, Ameritas have such insurance programs for partners,” Milliken told reporters during a recent gathering.
Nebraska is the only Big 10 school that does not offer benefits to same-sex partners.
“So, we think it is appropriate for competitiveness. We also think it is the right thing to do,” Milliken stated. “It’s consistent with the University of Nebraska’s non-discrimination policies which include sexual orientation. It’s consistent with our general philosophy and policy of treating our employees equitably.”
The university calls its proposal “employee plus one.” It would extend eligibility for benefits to an adult who shares the employee’s household who is financially interdependent with the employee. Family coverage would include the adult designee and their dependent children. Benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, sick and bereavement leave and eligibility for the Dependent Scholarship Program.
The faculty senates and the student government organizations on all four campuses support the proposal. All four NU chancellors back the policy change.
NU officials estimate that 100 to 200 people will participate in the four-campus system, a cost of $750,000 to $1.5 million. The total cost of the university health insurance plan totals more than $120 million. If the Board of Regents approves the proposal, benefits would become available beginning January 1st of next year.