Barclays Banks to pay lesbian and gay employees for tax discrepancy in US

Posted by Bridgette P. LaVictoire on

"Britain’s third-largest bank is joining Google, Inc and others in reimbursing US employees for federal tax that they pay on health benefits provided to same-sex domestic partners. Barclays has made the move which aims to offset the tax on benefits for same-sex partners that does not apply to spouses in heterosexual marriages due to the lack of recognition of those partnerships under the Defense of Marriage Act.

"The change will take place on 1 January, according to the London-based bank. Barclays currently owns Lehman Brothers Holding which they bought in 2008 after the latter went bankrupt. Barclays is not the only company to offer these reimbursements. Google, Cisco Systems, and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants- all based in California- make these payments. This will make four for-profit companies which do this.

"Barclays’ spokesman Mark Lane stated 'We are introducing this payment to proactively offset the additional tax. We believe that by offering this, we will further our efforts to promote an inclusive environment.' The reimbursements will be a separate payment instead of an increase in their salary.

"Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC North America have joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equality while most of these companies have been busy funding the Republican Party which has been dedicated to ensuring that lesbians and gays remain unable to get married throughout the country and continue to be second class citizens.

"Same-sex partnered couples pay an average of $1,069 more in federal tax than their counterparts in heterosexual marriages even if they have the same benefits. Employers also pay more costs administratively in order to track the dependent status of covered same-sex partners and spouses because they have to maintain separate payroll functions.

"Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the law firm McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago, feels that the reimbursements would increase costs for the employers, but it would likely improve employee retention. He told Bloomberg News 'It’s simply to provide equal pay for equal work in this civil rights issue, there’s really no financial incentive. 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.'”

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