Seal of Dane County County of Dane

Summary of Domestic Partner Equal Benefit Requirement

The Wisconsin State Legislature passed legislation that pre-empts Dane County's Domestic Partner Equal Benefits Ordinance. The information below only applies to contracts entered into prior to April 17, 2018.

Pursuant to Dane County Ordinance Chapter 25.016, certain contractors doing business with Dane County are required to offer equal benefits to employees in a domestic partner relationship as they do to employees in a marital relationship. Under county ordinance, benefits are defined as: bereavement leave, family medical leave, sick leave, health benefits, dental benefits, disability benefits, life insurance, membership or membership discounts, moving expenses, pension and retirement benefits, and travel benefits. These benefits must be provided to domestic partners of employees if the benefits are available to the spouses of married employees.

If after making a reasonable effort to provide the benefit to a domestic partner of an employee, the employer is unable to provide the benefit, then the employer may substitute a cash equivalent payment to the employee in an amount equal to the cost of the actual benefit that the employer is unable to provide.

The requirement to provide equal benefits extends to all human services, public works and service contractors. A service contract is defined as a contract for the provision of: general labor, clerical work, janitorial work, security or weapons screening, food service, and human services contracts for transportation and personal care work paid with County-administered funds for persons with disabilities and the frail elderly, whether the workers are employed directly by the consumer or a third party.

The requirement also applies to any business that receives an economic development grant in the amount of $5,000 or more.

The equal benefits requirement applies to all employees of the contractor’s operations located in Dane County, regardless of whether there are employees at those locations performing work on the contract. The requirement also applies to employees located elsewhere in the United States if those employees are performing work on a county contract.

The ordinance requires that employers post a notice of the requirement in a prominent place where it can be easily seen and read by persons employed in the performance of such a contract.

Upon completion of the contract, and before receiving final payment, the contractor must furnish the county with a certification affirming that the contractor has complied fully with the requirements of the ordinance.

All of the above requirements apply to contracts initiated after December 1, 2008 or to extensions of existing contracts after that date.


Dane County Purchasing Division
City-County Building, Room 425
210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Madison, WI 53703-3345
(608) 267-3523 Phone
(608) 266-4425 Fax