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Google fixes disparity in benefits for same-sex couples

By now, most of us know all about how great Google treats its employees. We've heard about the onsite restaurants, the stock options and the environment that fosters creative thinking.

Now, here's another reason to work at Google in the form of work/life benefits. Below is a report from Workforce Management.

Google Inc. is offering to reimburse its gay and lesbian employees for the additional federal tax they pay on the value of company-paid domestic partner benefits.

The offer, which would apply retroactively to January 1, came after a gay employee pointed out the disparity for same-sex couples covered by the Mountain View, California-based technology firm’s employee health benefits plan, a spokesman said Thursday, July 1.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president for people operations, acknowledged that it wasn’t fair that same-sex couples were paying an estimated $1,069 more annually in federal taxes on those benefits, the spokesman said.

To equalize other benefits available to same-sex partners of employees, Google also is eliminating a one-year waiting period to qualify for infertility benefits. It also is including domestic partners in its family leave policy, going beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to give at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave to workers to recover from a medical condition or care for family members.

The Google spokesman said it is uncertain at this point how many of the company’s 20,600 employees are likely to take up Google on the reimbursement,

“We’re not actually increasing the salaries of the employees. Salaries are tied to the work you do. It’s more of a reimbursement."