Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on new GM benefit offerings

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General Motors is reinstating health care benefits to its U.S. salaried employees' same-sex domestic partners and their kids and, in a first for the automaker, is also going to allow employees to add opposite-sex, unmarried partners and their children to their health plans. GM's move, part of an effort toward its goal to be the most inclusive company in the world, will also expand the medical benefits it already offers to transgender salaried employees in the United States. The initiatives start January 1, 2023. GM's strategy, while significant for its goal, is not groundbreaking. This time a year ago, Stellantis reinstated its offering of domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, adding it to the inclusion of employees with opposite-sex partners, which was not the case previously. The offering is still in effect. Stellantis has also offered similar medical benefits to transgender people. Similarly, Ford Motor Co. provides domestic partner benefits in the states that require it. Since 2021, Ford has covered various transgender-related medical procedures and it will add new services next year. GM's newest offerings are more "in the middle of the curve" than ahead of it, said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University who specializes in business, labor, human resource management, conflict resolution and employee relations. "They are essentially catching up," he said of GM. "Recruitment and retention are difficult in auto because of the waves of technological change, continual restructurings due to electrification, and portending demand for product challenges, domestically and globally, on the heels of supply (chain) difficulties."

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