Press Room

December 09, 2010

Category: Benefits

Human Rights Campaign Applauds Facebook for Compensating for Unfair Benefits Tax on Same-Sex Couples

Employees to be reimbursed by social media giant for discriminatory federal taxes on same-sex partner health benefits

Washington - The Human Rights Campaign - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization - today praised the social media site Facebook for its announcement that its United States-based employees who opt to cover their same-sex domestic partners under the company's medical, dental or vision plans will be eligible for reimbursement to offset the additional federal tax liability incurred by receiving those benefits.

"Under current federal law, same-sex couples face the unfair burden of having their health benefits taxed while married opposite-sex couples do not," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "For many LGBT employees, this tax penalty means they cannot afford to accept health coverage for their families. I applaud Facebook for recognizing the challenges LGBT employees face and doing their part to address these inequities."

Other companies - including Barclay's, Google, Cisco Systems, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Bain & Co., BCGand law firm Morrison & Foerster - have also been following this trend.

"Until federal law recognizes that all families should be on equal footing, it is up to individual employers to address the needs of LGBT employees and their families," said Daryl Herrschaft, director of HRC's Workplace Project. "Facebook now adds its name to a growing list of companies recognizing that equality is a good business practice."

The practice of reimbursing employees for taxes on domestic partner health benefits, called "grossing up," is increasing in popularity. HRC tracks companies that have this benefit through the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) survey and provides resources for employees and employers on how to implement grossing up policies at: http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/benefits/grossing-up.htm

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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