Biglaw, BuckleySandler, Gay, Gay Marriage, Health Care / Medicine, Money, Perks / Fringe Benefits, Tax Law, Williams Mullen

Biglaw Perk Watch: More Firms Adopt the Gay Gross-Up

We have been tracking — as have other news outlets, such as the New York Times — which leading law firms offer the perk we’ve nicknamed the gay gross-up. If you’re inclined towards formality, you can call it the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits.” For an explanation of what this perk is all about, read this prior post.

Since our last round-up, additional prominent law firms have adopted this policy. Let’s check out the latest list….

UPDATE (9/7/11, 12:30 PM): We’ve added to our list since it went up yesterday.

Here are five newcomers to welcome to the club:

  • BuckleySandler
  • Fried Frank
  • SNR Denton
  • Weil Gotshal
  • Williams Mullen

UPDATE (9/7/11, 12:30 PM): Make that six. Please add Ropes & Gray.

Fried Frank distributed a memorandum, which we’ve reprinted in full at the end of this post. Williams Mullen sent us a statement about their policy:

We are pleased at Williams Mullen to report that effective February 1, 2011, thanks to our firm’s Diversity Committee, we amended our employee benefits plan to include the tax offset for domestic partner benefits. As requested in your article, we are submitting this news in hopes of being added to your growing list of firms who provide and recognize the importance of this benefit.

We’re happy to add WM to the list, which is indeed growing. Here is the updated, complete list of firms offering the tax offset for domestic partner health benefits (closing in on 25 firms):

Please email us, subject line “Gay Gross-Up,” with corrections or additions to our list. Thanks!

P.S. The New York Times also tracks which firms have made this commitment to LGBT workplace equality. If you’d like to see your firm on the NYT list, please contact Tara Siegel Bernard.

For Gay Employees, an Equalizer [New York Times]
A Progress Report on Gay Employee Health Benefits [Bucks / New York Times]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the gay gross-up


August 31, 2011

From: Douglas H. Flaum and Michelle B. Gold, Co-Chairs, FFHSJ Diversity Committee

Re: New Benefit for Employees Covering Same-Sex Domestic Partners and Spouses

We are pleased to announce that Fried Frank is expanding its benefits program to address an inequity created by the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Effective September 1, 2011, the Firm will provide tax gross-up benefits to employees who are taxed on benefits provided to same-sex domestic partners or same-sex spouses and their children. Fried Frank is taking the lead in adopting this policy, along with a small number of law firms and major corporations.

While the Firm has offered domestic partner benefits for many years, under current federal tax laws, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees who elect to cover their same-sex domestic partner or spouse, and their partner’s or spouse’s children, under the Firm’s medical plans have been at a disadvantage compared to opposite-sex married couples. The value of the Firm’s contribution to the cost of health insurance benefits for same-sex partners and their children is considered additional imputed taxable income to the employee, and the employee is required to pay his/her partner’s (and the partner’s dependents, if applicable) portion of the medical premiums with after-tax, rather than pre-tax, dollars. Consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Firm will now provide a gross-up benefit to eligible employees designed to cover their additional taxes related to same-sex domestic partner or same-sex spouse dependent coverage.

For more information regarding the policy, please refer to the complete policy which is available on the Benefits Department Intranet page. If you have any questions, please contact [REDACTED].

(hidden for your protection)

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