Companies are increasingly championing gender balance paying a lot of attention not only to gender-inclusive language, but also to create fairness at workplace. Tech Mahindra’s efforts to further its diversity and inclusion agenda come a year after it sacked its chief diversity officer following an internal investigation where a former employee alleged harassment over his sexual orientation.
At Tech Mahindra, same-sex couples are now eligible to get 12-weeks of paid adoption leave and three days of bereavement leave. The IT services firm has also built in greater flexibility in its work-from-home policy for new parents and support groups for returning mothers, cancer patients and survivors.
Its chief people officer Harshvendra Soin said, “Today, employees demand a user- and customer-like experience as well as a great human experience. At Tech Mahindra, human experience is a function of user experience, customer experience, employee experience.” Besides, it has LGBT committees across geographies. It’s adding a gamification element to the diversity and inclusion training to create an immersive experience for its employees.
Gender-neutral policies are gaining significance across organisations to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce. Take Deutsche Bank in India, for instance. It’s one of the pioneers in introducing the gender-neutral parental leave policy. “Without the classification of maternal or paternal leave, the bank provides 26 weeks of paid leave to the primary child caregiver irrespective of gender and the other partner automatically becomes eligible for 10 days of secondary caregiver leave,” the Deutsche Bank India spokesperson said.
While the law mandates a 12-week policy for adoptive parents, Deutsche Bank does not differentiate the leave on the basis of natural/adoption/surrogacy births and entitles the primary caregiver with 26-weeks of paid leave. “One notable example is from last December when a male employee requested for primary caregiver leave since his wife had a difficult pregnancy and was on bed rest post childbirth. The employee was provided 26-weeks of leave as he assumed the role of a primary child caregiver. This is a case which underscores the spirit behind the primary and non-primary child caregiver policy,” its spokesperson said. For special cases of serious prolonged illness or hospitalization, the bank has the provision of extended paid sick leave for 6 months.
TOI had reported how Tata Consultancy Services has tweaked its health insurance policy by broadening the scope of the definition to cover same-sex partners. The policy defines spouse as a partner and the definition of spouse will include same-sex partners irrespective of their marital status. Under the new policy, up to 50% of the cost of sex or gender reassignment surgery (up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh) will be covered by insurance.
Three years ago, Accenture announced a 22-week adoption leave irrespective of whether the child is biological, adopted or born through surrogacy. Earlier, it had an adoption leave of eight weeks.
Effective January 2020, Deutsche Bank will introduce a new leave category called top-up leaves for all its employees in India. “As the name ‘top-up’ suggests, employees will be eligible for five days of leave over and above the annual leave quota and the same can be availed for any personal reasons. The philosophy is to encourage employees to take sufficient time-off and maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life,” its spokesperson said.