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After IBM, Godrej Group, and Accenture, now Citigroup Inc. and Star India take the step towards being inclusive by extending insurance, parenting, and other benefits to partners of LGBT+ employees.
On 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court of India created history by decriminalising homosexuality by declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional.
Yet, as this article by Parvadavardini Sethuraman pointed out, “This verdict is only half the battle won, the major struggle still remains”.
Most LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people in India usually remain closeted, fearing discrimination from their families and loved ones. Society mocks at such individuals. Most workplaces and organisations provide little or no employee benefits to the LGBT+ community. Discrimination is still present, especially in rural and sub-urb areas, where LGBT+ individuals often face dismissal and rejection from their families. Some are also forced into heterosexual marriages.
However times are changing. Society is slowly becoming more accepting, thanks to all those who are working on creating an inclusive society. To all those who have celebrated the remarkable September 2018 event last year, the below bulletin will surely be yet another reason to bring smiles in you:
In a major gender inclusion step, broadcasting major Star India has extended the group health insurance cover to the partners of its employees from the LGBT+ community. The media group in a statement on Monday, 15thJuly, said that all the existing employee benefits around maternity/paternity, IVF, surrogacy and adoption will be applicable to the LGBT+ employees and their partners too from this month (effective from 1stJuly 2019).
Citigroup Inc. has decided to extend family health insurance coverage and relocation expenses in India to all domestic partners including live-in partners and LGBT+ partners, thus earning a perfect score on the LGBT+ workplace equality scorecard.
Most companies do not provide insurance coverage to unmarried or live-in partners of heterosexual employees, as the legal status and rights of unmarried couples are yet to be clearly defined in the Indian system. Such coverage is not easy for a standalone customer since insurance companies ask for some kind of proof. However, if the coverage is part of a group insurance policy then the company takes the responsibility, according to experts.
Apart from Star India and Citi, a handful of other companies are also working on making things much better for unmarried partners and to members of the LGBT+ community. Godrej Group, Accenture and IBM are already offering medical insurance to same-sex partners of their LGBT+ employees.
Such initiatives encourage a change in the outlook of people towards LGBT+ individuals, thus bringing in more equality and a sense of inclusiveness.
Image source: pixabay
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