Reimbursements or “gross-up” benefits offered by Google and Barclays would increase costs for the employers but could improve employee retention, said Todd A. Solomon, a partner with the employee-benefits group of law firm McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. “It’s simply to provide equal pay for equal work in this civil rights issue, there’s really no financial incentive,” Solomon said in a phone interview. “The bottom line is more than how much cash you spend today, it may help the bottom line to be seen as the employer of choice.”
Same-sex partners pay an average of $1,069 more in federal tax than people in heterosexual marriages with the same benefits, according to a 2007 study conducted by the Center for American Progress and the Williams Institute. But now some companies are stepping up to be gair to thier LGBT employees where the Uniteds States goverment will not.
Barclays Plc, Britain’s third- largest bank, is joining Google Inc. and a small number of companies in reimbursing U.S. employees for federal tax they pay on health benefits provided to same-sex domestic partners.
The aim is to offset the tax on benefits for same-sex partners that doesn’t apply to spouses in heterosexual marriages because same-sex partnerships aren’t recognized as marriages under U.S. law, the London-based bank said today in a statement. The change will take effect Jan. 1, according to the bank, which bought the U.S. business of bankrupt Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. “We are introducing this payment to proactively offset the additional tax,” Mark Lane, a spokesman for Barclays Capital, said “We believe that by offering this, we will further our efforts to promote an inclusive environment.” Barclays will reimburse employees through a separate payment rather than an increase in base salary.