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July 09, 2010
Google Helping Gay and Lesbian Employees Cover Extra Costs
Google has always been known for their generous benefit packages. Depending on the location, employees are able to take advantage of some unique benefits and perks such as free lunches, an on-site doctor, massage services, or take-out meal expenses after the birth of a child. Now, Google is offering extra pay to compensate gay and lesbian employees who have domestic partners for extra health costs.

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The organization will compensate employees who have a same-sex domestic partner for the extra cost of their partner’s health benefits. These are costs that heterosexual married couples do not pay.

On average, gay and lesbian employees with domestic partners pay over $1,000 more a year in taxes than heterosexual married employees with the same coverage, according to a 2007 report published by the director of the Williams Institute. In addition, extra pay will compensate for the dependents of the employee’s domestic partner.

Google will also eliminate the 1-year period employees’ with same-sex domestic partners would have to wait before qualifying for infertility benefits.

This initiative was brought to the attention of the Google’s HR team, who calls themselves “People’s Operations”, by an employee.

“Google employees have a wide variety of interests both inside and outside Google,” says Google's People’s Operations. “We strive to design a unique benefits package that helps Googlers balance their busy lives and allows them to focus on what they love to do. To that end, the Benefits group has developed a wide variety of comprehensive programs to meet the various needs of our diverse population.”

Federal government also addressing same-sex partners. The federal government also addressed same-sex partnerships recently. Around the same time Google announced its new initiative to compensate same-sex domestic partners, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an administrative interpretation clarifying "son and daughter" under Section 101(12) of the FMLA as it applies to an employee standing "in loco parentis" to a child.

FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to care for loved ones or themselves. FMLA also allows employees to take time off for the adoption or the birth of a child. FMLA affects private employers with 50 or more employees and all public employers.

According to the press release, “these rights, which provide work-family balance, extend to the various parenting relationships that exist in today's world. This action is a victory for many non-traditional families, including families in the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community, who often in the past have been denied leave to care for their loved ones.”


New York Times

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