Tata Steel’s New HR Policy For LGBTQ+ Employees

On 16th December, 2019, Tata Steel declared that it has introduced a new Human Resource policy which enables its LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning plus other) employees, to declare their partners and avail the HR benefits permissible under the law. “With its vision to provide equal opportunity to the employees, it has been an endeavour of the company to create an enabling workforce for all diverse groups, respecting and embracing the differences in the individuals,” said a statement put out by Tata Steel, further defining ‘partners’ as “people of same-sex living like a married couple.”

Under the Expanded Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) Policy, Tata Steel employees and their partners will be able to avail a host of benefits including health check-up, medical facilities, adoption leave, new-born parent and child care leave, and inclusion in employee assistance program (EAP), as also financial assistance for gender reassignment surgery and 30 days special leave for the same. They will also be eligible for Tata Executive Holiday Plan (TEHP), honeymoon package and domestic travel coverage for new employees.

“The company’s vision is to be a world-class equal opportunity employer where everyone is respected and every voice is heard. It is a constant endeavour of the company to create an enabling workplace for all diverse groups, respecting and embracing the differences in the individuals,” the statement said. This policy also entitles them to be equally eligible for participating in any event including an official gathering or an offshore corporate event, where earlier only spouses of the opposite gender were included.

Since the Supreme Court struck down Section 377 that criminalised homosexuality, corporations in India have pushed to make workplaces inclusive for employees from the LGBTQ+ community. Citigroup’s India unit earlier extended medical insurance and relocation benefits to all domestic partners of its employees – including those of the same sex. In July, Star India also began offering health insurance coverage to partners of its LGBTQ employees and providing them with maternity, paternity, in-vitro fertilisation, surrogacy and adoption benefits.

Suresh Dutt Tripathi, Vice-President (Human Resource Management), Tata Steel, said that providing equitable policies and benefits creates a level playing field for all employees and sets common standards across locations. Research shows that people are more engaged with and committed to an organisation that has policies protecting LGBTQ+ employees.

Since same-sex marriages and civil partnerships aren’t recognised in India, organisations have had to devise their own criteria to offer benefits for long-term partners of their employees. In July 2019, the first dedicated hiring consultancy firm, the Bengaluru-based Diversity and Inclusion firm, for the members of the LGBT community aimed to shatter stereotypes through a dedicated wing to look at the job consultancy market for the LGBTQ candidates. However, smaller firms across industries like textile houses, printing presses, rubber manufacturers, real estate agencies and others remain largely conservative and do not enact LGBT-friendly policies in their workplaces. In 2016, a World Bank report pegged India’s GDP loss due to homophobia (caused by factors such as lost wages and health costs) at nearly $32 billion, or 1.7%.

(Inputs: PTI)

Leave a Reply