US city to reimburse gay workers for unfair tax

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A Massachusetts city will become the first to pay gay public workers more than their straight colleagues because gay workers are subject to more federal tax.

The city of Cambridge has been looking for a solution to the issue of unfair federal taxes for six months and now plans to reimburse affected workers.

Although the state allows gay couples to marry, federal law prevents them from benefiting from the same spousal benefits heterosexuals receive.

This means that 22 gay people who put their spouses on their employer-provided health insurance pay an extra $1,500-3,000 a year because the government taxes the health insurance. Straight couples are not taxed for this benefit.

City officials have decided to supplement affected workers’ pay packets to make up the difference.

Other federal benefits not available to gay couples include survivor benefits, immigration rights, joint tax returns and family leave.

Cambridge is the first city to tackle the issue of federal benefits for gay couples. Around 20 companies already have policies, including Google and Facebook,

There are moves to get the federal law repealed at national level.