February 23, 2024

Bucks: Teach for America Equalizes Health Costs for Domestic Partners

What if You're Gay - Your Money - Bucks Blog - NYTimes.com

Teach for America is the latest organization to ensure that its employees with same-sex partners get the same treatment as opposite-sex married couples when it comes to health care costs.

Gay people who are fortunate enough to work for employers that extend health benefits to their same-sex partners are still at a disadvantage: they must pay an extra tax on the value of those benefits that heterosexual married couples do not pay.

After Teach for America became aware of this issue through the Bucks blog, it decided to adopt the policy known as “grossing up,” where employees are reimbursed for these extra costs.

“We were inspired to make this important policy change, ensuring that all of our employees in domestic partnerships (whether same or opposite sex couples) don’t feel the burden of this unfair tax,” Aimée Eubanks Davis, chief people officer at Teach for America, said in an e-mail. “We are currently retroactively reimbursing affected employees as of Jan. 1, 2011.”

Over the course of the last year, a number of companies have adopted similar policies. Google began covering the costs last year, and, shortly thereafter, several other companies, including Barclays, Facebook and Apple, followed suit. We’ve been keeping track of the changes at various companies on this chart. Even though the effort has been gaining speed in recent months, some organizations, including Cisco, Kimpton Hotels and the Gates Foundation, already had the policy in place.

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 that the employer pays for. Heterosexual married couples are not subject to the tax.

While many companies only reimburse gay employees with partners since their unions are not recognized by the federal government, Teach for America is covering the costs for all employees with domestic partners.  Employees will receive the reimbursements in their semimonthly paychecks.

“It was clear to us that it was the right thing to do for our staff members,” said Ms. Davis of Teach for America, “and we were in a position to do it, so we did.”

Do you know of any companies that have recently adopted a similar policy? If so, please drop us a note in the comment section below.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f701533100c8b89f243f1fef54433c6f

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