How to Comply with the Equal Benefits Ordinance

Equal Benefits Compliance imageOver 16,000 firms have complied with the City's Equal Benefits Ordinance. We are here to help you join the list of compliant firms!

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What is the Equal Benefits Ordinance?

The Equal Benefits Ordinance, as Chapter 12B of the San Francisco Administrative Code is commonly referred to, prohibits the City of San Francisco from entering into contracts or leases with entities (which have done more than $5,000 worth of business with the City in any year) that discriminate against their employees in the provision of benefits between employees with domestic partners and employees with spouses or discriminate against employees or others that are members of protected classes. Return to the top...

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How do I comply with the Equal Benefits Ordinance?

To begin, your firm must submit a completed, signed 12B-101 Declaration Form.  If your firm has employees and offers benefits to these employees, then your firm must also submit copies of benefits documentation for each benefit offered. Return to the top...   

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What can I do to make this process as quick as possible? (Helpful Hints)

The compliance process can take a bit of time; here are a few tips that will greatly expedite your firm’s progress:

1. Start early.  Ideally, submit Form 12B-101 and a copy of your firm’s benefits policies when you register as a vendor or respond to an RFP so that our office can begin analyzing your file.

2. Submit complete benefit documentation. In our experience the single biggest factor in delaying the compliance determination is that vendors do not submit benefit documentation to support the statements made on the 12B-101.

3. Use this definition of Domestic Partner in all personnel policies and benefits documentation: "Domestic partners are defined as same-sex and opposite-sex couples registered with any state or local government agency authorized to perform such registrations. There are no requirements for proof of relationship or waiting periods that are not also applied to married couples." Where COBRA coverage is available, add the following language "COBRA-like continuation coverage is available to domestic partners and their children to the same degree and in the same manner as continuation coverage is available to spouses and step-children."

4. Read this entire page. We have developed the content of this page based on years of experience working with vendors.  We believe that if you read this page most of your questions will be answered.

5. Contact Us.  If after reading this page and our forms you are not sure how to proceed, please call or email us.  A little time speaking with one of our Compliance officers can go a long way to ensuring that the documentation you submit to our office addresses our standards. The division's primary email address is:  Return to the top...

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Does the Equal Benefits Ordinance apply to me?

The Ordinance applies to all entities that seek to directly enter into a contract or lease with the City and County of San Francisco, including for public works or improvements, for a franchise, concession or lease of City property, or services or supplies to be purchased at the expense of the City or County. In addition, each party to a joint venture is required to comply with the Ordinance on an individual basis.  The joint venture itself must establish its own vendor record and submit a separate 12B declaration.

The Ordinance does not apply to entities that do less $5,000 worth of business with the City per year, or to subcontractors that indirectly receive payments from the City. Return to the top...

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What forms do I need to submit to the Contract Monitoring Division?


The Contract Monitoring Division uses the forms below to administer enforcement of the Equal Benefits Ordinance. 

12B-101 Declaration Form (PDF)
Must be submitted by all entities seeking to enter into a contract or lease with the City for more than $5,000 worth of business per year.
12B-102 Reasonable Measures Application (PDF)
May be submitted by entities that, due to factors outside their control, are unable to find an insurance company willing to offer domestic partner coverage or find that a state or federal law prohibits extending a particular benefit to domestic partners on the same basis as it is extended to spouses.  Please note that currently there are insurance providers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that provide coverage to Domestic Partners, so Reasonable Measures Applications are granted on an extremely limited basis.

12B-103 Substantial Compliance Authorization Request (PDF)
May be submitted by entities that have demonstrated: (a) significant progress toward compliance, and (b) a commitment to end discrimination in their remaining benefits but require additional time to do so. This request will be reviewed by a Contract Compliance Officer and, if granted, will allow your firm to contract with the City while your firm works to end discrimination in its benefits.  Generally, three months of additional time may be granted for your firm to update its personnel policies, if justified by the administrative steps required. A delay of up to the next open enrollment period for insurance benefits will be granted if sufficient written evidence of intent to end discrimination is provided.  Return to the top...

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How does the Contract Monitoring Division determine if my policies and benefits are compliant with the requirements of the Equal Benefits Ordinance?

As a first step, the Contract Compliance Officer assigned to your file analyses your 12B-101 Declaration Form.  If you have indicated that your firm has employees and offers benefits, then the Contract Compliance Officer will analyze the benefit documentation that you provided with your Declaration Form.  If your firm did not provide benefit documentation, then the Compliance Officer will contact you and request you submit supporting documentation for each benefit that you offer.  As noted above, not providing documentation is the biggest cause of delay in the compliance process.

The first guideline for supporting documentation is that we need the pages of your company's employee handbook that describe each of the benefits that your company offers. Where spouses are referenced, domestic partners should be included. If, for example, in the bereavement policy, a spouse's family members (in-laws) are also referenced, then the equivalent members of a domestic partner's family must be included.  If documentation does not exist, attach an explanation.

The second guideline is that when a benefit is administered by a third party, we need confirmation directly from the third party or your company's contract with them.

For further assistance please see this very helpful documentation guide: Equal Benefits Documentation Guide

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Staff Directory



Division Staff



Tamra Winchester/Manager, 12B Equal Benefits Unit

(415) 581-2304
Maria-Zenaida Camua/Contract Compliance Officer, 12B Equal Benefits Unit

(415) 581-2305
Regina Du/Contract Compliance Officer, 12B Equal Benefits Unit

(415) 581-2307
Domenic Viterbo/Administrative Assistant, 12B Equal Benefits Unit

(415) 581-2311