TR Employee Benefits Finally Fits the Times

Rochester Business Journal reports that Thomson Reuters has  entered an agreement regarding same-sex benefits  … and about time too

March 4, 2015
Thomson Reuters Corp. has agreed to change the way it calculates taxes owed by employees married to same-sex partners.

As part of a pact inked with the New York Attorney General’s office, Thomson Reuters will no longer count the value of health coverage and other benefits granted to its employees’ same-sex spouses as taxable income, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday.

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling declaring same-sex marriage to be legal under the Constitution private employers had to count benefits paid to unmarried same-sex partners as taxable income.

Since the high court’s October 2013 decision in United States vs. Windsor, however, same-sex spouses living in states that have legalized gay marriage are supposed to have the same rights as married heterosexuals.

After an investigation sparked by a Thomson Reuters worker’s 2014 complaint, the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division found that the New York City-based company, whose legal publishing division employs approximately 500 in Rochester, had failed to change its policy.

In addition to telling its third-party benefits administrator to stop counting the value of benefits given to employees’ same-sex spouses as so-called imputed income, Thomson Reuters agreed to tell its benefits administrator to hold quarterly training sessions on the legal status of same-sex spouses. The company also said it would arrange an audit going back to October 2013 of its payroll records to see if any workers besides the complainant who sparked the probe are owed refunds.

Thomson Reuters agreed to apply changes covered by the agreement in all states where same-sex marriage is legal, Schneiderman said.