Delta Air Lines has announced that, effective immediately, employees who cover same sex domestic partners under Delta’s healthcare plans will no longer be responsible for any federal or state income or payroll tax burden associated with this coverage. Delta will now pay those taxes on behalf of these employees retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015. This will result in parity of the cost of health care coverage between same-sex domestic partners and employees in legally recognized marriages regardless of U.S. location.
“While this issue remains unsettled on a national level, Delta’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect is rooted deeply in the airline’s values and culture,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “By providing equality in this critically important area of benefit costs for employees with same-sex domestic partners, we will continue to build a great place to work.”
During the last two years, many states have begun to recognize same sex marriage. This month, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on and decide whether same-sex marriage bans are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. In addition to the airline’s announcement, Delta also participated in a brief urging the Court to support marriage equality. A ruling is due by the end of June.
On a global scale, Delta is committed to maintaining and supporting a culture of inclusion. As the largest employer in Georgia and one of the largest employers in Minnesota, Delta extends domestic partner benefits to its employees, including health, dental and life insurance, as well as pension and flight benefits.
Throughout the years, Delta and its employees have continued to build and expand its strong relationship with the LGBT community around the world. Delta supports regional Pride events in cities nationwide including Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City and Seattle with hundreds of employees marching to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Delta continues to be a proud underwriter of the GLAAD Media Awards and Platinum sponsor for the Atlanta HRC Dinner. Delta is the official airline of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, one of the most recognized and important organizations fighting the AIDS epidemic worldwide.
Additionally, Delta employees actively support and participate in DEEN, the Delta Employee Equality Network, a voluntary organization committed to making Delta the best place to work by promoting inclusion, respect for differences, equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace.
Source: Delta assumes tax burden for employees in same-sex relationships. Delta News Room.