TCS first Tata co to include LGBT staff for health coverage

KOLKATA/MUMBAI: IT giant Tata Consultancy Services ( TCS ), the largest private sector employer with a force of more than 4 lakh people on its payroll, has modified its health insurance policy to cover employees involved in a homosexual relationship. Maybe it’s the first Tata Group company to do it.

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 a spouse as a couple, thus expanding the scope to cover same-sex couples.

Some progressive companies have already extended medical coverage/family health insurance coverage to same-sex couples and these include RBS India, Citibank , Capgemini India, among others. Some of these policies are extended to live-in partners as well. TCS global diversity head Preeti D’mello told TOI The new policy was formalized last week. The definition of a spouse will now include same-sex couples regardless of their marital status.

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

“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, while adding that the firm has already received one application for gender reassignment surgery,” D’mello said.

KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: “When it comes to promoting LGBT QIA + (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual , queer/interrogation, asexual and many other terms) inclusion in the workplace, one of the issues that often causes more debate is the issue 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 medical 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.