Gay and lesbian employees in the Illinois Treasurer’s office who are in a committed relationship will enjoy the same FMLA benefits as married employees under an executive order signed by state treasurer (and U.S. Senate candidate) Alexi Giannoulias Sunday.  As a result, these employees will have the same family and medical leave benefits to care for their domestic partner when they suffer from a serious health condition and will be allowed to take time off to have or adopt children.

According to the Chicago Tribune, which quoted Giannoulias, the order makes the office the first constitutional Illinois state office or state agency to adopt such a benefit policy and one of only nine states and the District of Columbia to implement leave-related benefits for domestic partners.  The Treasurer’s office joins numerous private companies across the country that already extend FMLA rights to employees with domestic partners.  See the Treasurer’s press release here.

As is common with other domestic partner benefits, the new FMLA benefits will be available to Treasurer office employees who sign an affidavit affirming that they are in a committed long-term relationship and meet other criteria, such as relying on each other for financial and emotional support, sharing a common household or owning property.