Google to Pay Gay Employees Extra to Make Up for Tax Inequalities

Posted by Wesley On Thursday, July 1, 2010 1 comments

If this doesn't make a statement about how a company cares more for it's employees than a government does for it's own citizens, I don't know what will:
Under federal law, employer-provided health benefits for domestic partners are counted as taxable income, if the partner is not considered a dependent. The tax owed is based on the value of the partner’s coverage paid by the employer.
On average, employees with domestic partners will pay about $1,069 more a year in taxes than a married employee with the same coverage, according to a 2007 report by M. V. Lee Badgett, director of the Williams Institute, a research group that studies sexual orientation policy issues.
So Google is essentially going to cover those costs, putting same-sex couples on an even footing with heterosexual employees whose spouses and families receive health benefits.
The company began to look at the disparity after a gay employee pointed it out, said Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president for people operations (also known as human resources). Google, by the way, says its benefits team seriously considers any suggestions on how to expand its coverage
“We said, ‘You’re right, that doesn’t seem fair,’ so we looked into it,” Mr. Bock said. “From that initial suggestion, we said, let’s take a look at all the benefits we offer and see if we are being truly fair across the board.” As a result, the company also decided to make a few other changes that would help gay employees, including eliminating a one-year waiting period before qualifying for infertility benefits and including domestic partners in its family leave policy — going beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks’ leave in a one-year period to recover from a medical condition or to care for a relative.
I would love to see a ripple effect follow this move. Then maybe, just MAYBE, our government will get the bigger picture.

1 comment:

destinationathlete said...

I couldn't agree more - the fact that it's one of the last legal forms of racism is really sad. Go Google!