Ernst & Young LLP today announced it and its affiliates will reimburse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees for the additional federal and state taxes they pay on same-sex domestic partners’ medical benefits in the US, making it the first Big Four accounting firm to offer this perk. The tax equalization (gross-up) is effective Jan. 1, 2012.
“Ernst & Young strives to promote an equitable work culture in every way possible,” said Karyn Twaronite, Americas Inclusiveness Officer, Ernst & Young LLP. “Our decision to provide this tax gross-up reinforces our long-standing pledge to foster a work environment that is inclusive for all of our people and signals our ongoing efforts to remain a leader in providing equitable benefits.”
Ernst & Young began offering employees in the US same-sex domestic partner benefits in 2002. Under federal law and many states’ laws, same-sex partnerships are not recognized, causing people enrolled in domestic partner benefits to incur extra taxes.
As of December 2011, there were only 30 for-profit employers that grossed-up on these benefits, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the largest civil rights organizations working to achieve LGBT equality in the workplace. Ernst & Young LLP, which is the first of the Big Four professional services firms to receive a 100% rating for corporate equality from the HRC, is now also the first of the Big Four to provide this tax offset to its personnel.
The Ernst & Young organization has a long history of creating an inclusive environment for all employees through both policy and practice. The organization’s leadership in LGBT inclusiveness extends globally, with many notable achievements by Ernst & Young LLP in the US:
- Earned a 100% rating in the HRC Corporate Equality Index for seven consecutive years
- Became first of the Big Four to be a 100% HRC-rated company and first to add gender identity/expression to its non-discrimination policies
- Received The Trevor Project’s 2020 Award, which recognizes an organization that has supported the LGBT community and has increased the visibility and understanding of LGBT issues
- Recognized as the 2011 National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Partner of the Year for work in supporting LGBT business owners and LGBT supplier diversity
- Named one of DiversityInc magazine’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity and was on its top 10 LGBT Employer list for six consecutive years
- Presented on Out & Equal Town Calls and at Summit workshops, sharing tools and strategies for LGBT workplace inclusiveness
- Participated in leading a Community of Practice on LGBT self-identification in surveys and human resources systems and other problem-solving task forces
- Joined the HRC Business Coalition in support of Employment Non-Discrimination Act federal legislation
Souce: Ernst & Young