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Health insurance Google strengthens benefits for gay or lesbian workers

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Google on Thursday improved health and family leave benefits for its US employees with same-sex domestic partners.

The Internet titan began adjusting the pay of workers in such relationships to offset income tax paid on health insurance benefits extended to partners, according to Cynthia Yeung of the firm’s strategic development team.

The California company also put same-sex couples on par with traditional man-woman spouses when it comes to how much time they are allowed to take off from work for family or medical reasons, Yeung said in a blog post.

Google has also worked with its health insurance carriers to define “infertility” as an inability to conceive a child for one year with no stipulations on trying.

Nearly 300 “Googlers’ with colorful balloons marched in San Francisco’s 40th annual Pride parade on Sunday. “We braved the rain in Boston, enjoyed the sun in New York, rode a trolley in Chicago and marched with the Israel Gay Youth Organization in Tel Aviv and Haifa,” Yeung said of Google workers taking part in such celebrations.

“Googlers will be participating in EuroPride, held in Poland this year, as well as many other parades, including Tokyo for the first time. And we’ll be celebrating Pride season in Singapore too.”

Google openly supports equality for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender workers. The company opposed a successful California initiative to legally define “marriage” as exclusively a union between a man and a woman.

“While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said when the company came out in 2008 against the initiative that was passed later that year by voters in the state. “We should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.”

San Francisco, USA, July 1, 2010 (AFP)