Same-sex partners often face many legal issues if they reside in states where same-sex marriage is not recognized. Therefore, Delta Air Lines, one of the largest employers in Minnesota, recently updated its healthcare coverage for employees in same-sex relationships. According to this new policy, employees covered under the airline's healthcare plans will no longer pay taxes associated with healthcare coverage. In fact, the airline announced it will shoulder the tax obligation, helping same-sex couples achieve universal healthcare coverage at a lower cost.
According to reports, Delta is the first airline to pay income taxes on behalf of its employees in same-sex partnerships and who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, which is currently legal in 37 states. Delta is based in one of those states where gay marriage is not legal. Pilots and crew members of Delta currently pay extra taxes based on the value of the insurance provided.
In two months, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding whether same-sex marriage bans are forbidden by the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection. Airline senior management stated that providing equal access to benefits for all employees will help the company create a great workplace culture.
This announcement provides company support for employee equal rights and also inherently supports marriage equality for same-sex couples. Delta is an employer known for creating strong relationships with LGBT communities around the world, including offering complete insurance benefits for domestic partners. Any employee facing a similar situation with regard to high income taxes for health insurance and spousal maintenance may need to get more information to help address the situation successfully. It is very important to understand all of your options clearly.
Source: BizJournals.com, "Delta assumes tax burden for employees in same-sex relationships; urges marriage equality," Carla Caldwell, April 3, 2015