TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health coverage

Udit Prasanna Mukherji and Namrata Singh | TNN

Kolkata/Mumbai: IT giant Tata Consulting services ( TCS ), the largest private sector employer in the country with more than 4,000 lakh people on its payroll, has modified its health insurance policy to cover employees involved in a of the same sex relationship. It would perhaps be the first Tata Group company to do so.

In an email update to its employees, TCS announced the new changes which will benefit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) employees. The new policy redefines ‘spouse’ as ‘partner’, thus broadening the scope to cover of the same sex partners.

Algunas compañías progresistas ya han extendido la cobertura médica/la cobertura del seguro médico familiar a las parejas of the same sex y estas incluyen RBS India , Citibank , Capgemini India . Some of these policies have also been extended to resident partners.

TCS global diversity head Preeti D’mello told TOI the new policy was formalised last week. The definition of spouse will now include of the same sex partners irrespective of their marital status.

Under the new policy, up to 50% of the cost of sex/gender reassignment surgery (up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh) will be covered by insurance.

“Respect for the individual is one of our core TCS values, and built on this value, we continue our journey towards LGBT Q + inclusion. We believe in building an organization where everyone feels included, involved and respected. We want to make the ecosystem fare and conducive for all, ”said D’mello, adding that the firm has already received one application for gender reassignment surgery.

KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: “When it comes to promoting LGBT QIA + (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms) inclusion in the workplace, one of the issues that often provokes the most debate is the subject of employee benefits. To this effect, KPMG in India, has made fair amount of adjustments in the insurance cover and has extended references to 'spouse' to include 'partner' and clearly states that this may include partners of the same or opposite sex or live in partner.

Patel said this has ensured that LGBT QIA + employees ’partners are treated equally as family members and beneficiaries in medical, insurance, relocation and relevant leave policies (e.g. parental, primary caregiver or compassionate leave).

In the recent government move to pass the transgender people protection bill, Patel said it would be exemplary for India Inc to relate to health insurance providers so that India’s health insurance is gender-inclusive, according to the gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, etc. For transgender people in transition in the workplace it is also covered within their scope and an effective grievance repair mechanism is also implemented.