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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tracking employers that do and don't equalize partner benefits coverage

By Nan Hunter -

From the NY Times:
A growing number of companies are covering the extra costs that same-sex couples pay for domestic partner benefits — and even more companies are thinking about it. So we’ve decided to keep track of who is doing what in a chart at the bottom of this post.
While many companies offer domestic partnership coverage — an important benefit on its own since same-sex couples’ unions are not recognized by the federal government — some pioneering organizations are extending an even more generous policy. They’re essentially reimbursing gay employees for the extra taxes they may incur as a result of that coverage, something that married heterosexual people don’t have to worry about.
Why is this an issue? Gay and lesbian employees who are lucky enough to work at places that have domestic partner coverage are taxed on the value of those benefits (if the partner is not considered a dependent). A handful of companies cover those extra costs, but not until Google adopted that policy earlier this year did the movement to equalize benefits begin to gain traction. Apple is the latest boldface name to join the effort.
A provision within a draft of the health care overhaul bill would have eliminated the tax, but it was ultimately dropped. The Human Rights Campaign said it continued to work on getting a bill passed, but until that happens — if it ever does — employees or their employers must pay the extra tax. (Many companies will cover the costs only for same-sex partners, since opposite-sex couples have the option to marry.)...
The biggest deterrent, of course, is the cost. Many companies support efforts to eliminate the tax altogether, but they’re unwilling to cover the costs employees now face.
Wish your company’s name was on the list with a “Yes” next to it? The Human Rights Campaign has a proposal and other information on its Web site that employees can use to help build their case...
Technology CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Google Yes
2. Facebook Yes, in 2011
3. Apple Yes, in 2011
4. Cisco Yes
5. Microsoft No Awaiting response
6. Motorola No No
7. Intel No No current plans
8. Hewlett-Packard Declined to comment Declined to comment
9. I.B.M. No Continues to monitor situation
Financial Services CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Barclays Yes, in 2011
2. Bank of America No Continues to evaluate marketplace, but no immediate plans
3. Citigroup No Declined to comment
4. JPMorgan Chase No Continues to monitor situation
5. Goldman Sachs No Declined to comment
6. Morgan Stanley No Currently reviewing
7. Capital One No Currently reviewing
8. Charles Schwab No No current plans
9. Prudential Financial No Declined to comment
10. State Street No No
11. TIAA-CREF No Continues to monitor situation
Insurance CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Aetna No Continues to monitor situation
2. The Chubb Corp. No No plans at this time
3. Nationwide No Currently assessing
4. MetLife No No
5. CNA No “Has no confirmed plans for additional benefits at this time”
Cable/Wireless CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Time Warner Awaiting response
2. Verizon Awaiting response
Consumer-related CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Discovery Channel Yes
2. Nike Awaiting response
3. Best Buy No No plans at this time
4. General Mills Awaiting response
5. Levi’s No No plans at this time
6. Miller-Coors No No
7. Eastman Kodak Awaiting response
8. Herman Miller No No
9. Texas Instruments Awaiting response
10. The New York Times No No
Nonprofit OrganizationsReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Gates Foundation Yes
2. Unitarian Universalist Association Yes (since 1994)
Consulting CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Bain & Co. Yes, in 2011
2. Boston Consulting Group Yes, probably in 2011
3. Ernst & Young No Currently evaluating
4. PricewaterhouseCoopers Awaiting response
5. Deloitte No Currently reviewing
6. KPMG No Declined to comment
Drug and Medical CompaniesReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Medtronics No Currently evaluating
2. Merck No Currently evaluating
3. GlaxoSmithKline Awaiting response Awaiting response

Plans to Adopt
1. Kimpton Hotels Yes
2. Marriott No No current plans
3. American Airlines Awaiting response
4. Delta Airlines Awaiting response
Law FirmsReimburses NowPlans to Adopt Policy
1. Morrison & Foerster Yes, in 2011
2.  McDermott, Will & Emery Yes, in 2011
3. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft Yes, since ‘99
3. Bingham McCutchen Yes, in 2011

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