With six months left in his four-year term, Illinois state Treasurer (and candidate for U.S. Senate) Alexi Giannoulias signed an executive order on Sunday extending family-leave benefits to gay and lesbian employees in domestic partnerships.
The new policy will allow gay and lesbian employees of his office to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick partner or relative, the same benefit given to their married co-workers. It also would allow gay and lesbian employees to take time off for the birth or adoption of a child, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Hard working men and women devoted to their families should not have to choose between their family and keeping their job. The bottom line is that we should not deny same sex domestic couples the same rights that are available to married couples.”
The order makes the office the first constitutional Illinois state office or state agency to adopt such a policy and one of only nine states and the District of Columbia to implement leave-related benefits for domestic partners.
In order to receive the benefit, couples will have to sign an affidavit affirming they are in a committed, long-term domestic partnership.
Giannoulias’ office employs approximately 180 people.