Equal Benefits Program

The Equal Benefits Program requires the City to only contract with businesses that offer the same benefits to employees with domestic partners as employees with spouses.

You must submit a Declaration proving that your business follows the law to contract with the City.

What you need to submit


First, complete an Equal Benefits Declaration confirming that your business offers benefits equally to employees with spouses and employees with domestic partners.

Employee count

Attach formal proof of your employee count. Recommended documents:

  • Businesses with employees: IRS Form 941
  • Sole proprietors with no employees: IRS Form SS-4
  • Individuals: IRS Form 1040 - Schedule SE


Other acceptable proof includes:

  • IRS Form W-3 California Form DE 9C
  • IRS Form 990 Electronic Wage Reporting (EWR)
  • San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector Receipt

Memo to employees

Attach a copy of the memo you sent to employees that summarizes the domestic partner policies in all of your benefit plans and handbooks.  There is no need to send copies of your benefits plan and handbook.


This employee memo template will help you write a memo that tells your employees:


Your company doesn't discriminate against members of protected classes.


Learn more

Domestic partner definition

Domestic partner definition

Domestic Partners are same-sex and different-sex couples registered with any State or local government agency. 

Proving domestic partnerships and marriages

Proving domestic partnerships and marriages

Domestic partners and spouses can be required to prove their relationship as long as they show the same kind of proof.

Domestic partner registry certificates are equal to marriage certificates.

If you require an affidavit to prove the relationship, both domestic partners and spouses must submit one.

Offering equal benefit coverage to employees

Offering equal benefit coverage to employees

It is easy to get equal insurance coverage. The law requires many insurance carriers to offer domestic partner coverage. It will cost no more than spousal coverage.

The Equal Benefits Ordinance does not require you to offer any specific benefits. It only requires that you offer benefits equally.



Failure to offer benefits in accordance with the Equal Benefits Ordinance may result in:

  • Suspension of compliance status
  • Financial penalties
  • The inability to contract with the City and County of San Francisco

Joint ventures

Joint ventures

Each joint venture (JV) partner must comply with the Equal Benefits ordinance. The JV must obtain a separate supplier number and submit their own Declaration under that number.

A JV can only become compliant after all JV partners are compliant.

Be sure to include “JV” in the name of your business when you register in the Supplier Portal.