Accenture has become the first company in India to move away from gender binaries. Now, the policies of the company will focus on the caregiver rather than gender or marital status.
Previously, Accenture India's life insurance benefit was restricted only to the employee's spouse and family members. However, it has now announced that the nominee can be anybody chosen by the employee.
Accenture employees who identify themselves as LGBT+ can also nominate their partners, reported The Times Of India.
Lakshmi C, managing director and lead-Human Resource department, said, "We undertook an extensive review of our people policies with a view to making them gender-neutral and to ensure that our people feel valued, included and for them to benefit equally from our policies. We are breaking some of the gender stereotypes to focus on the role of a caregiver. Gendered language and people policies often also leave non-binary individuals feeling left out and prevents them from availing certain benefits."
At present, Accenture has around 2 lakh employees in India. In parental leave policies, now the focus is on primary and secondary caregivers.
Maternal leave, which was earlier restricted to those who identify themselves as women, has now been extended to all eligible employees who can bear and give birth to a child.
Lakshmi said that, for instance, transmen who can bear a child are also eligible for the 26-week leave.
Paternal leave, which was earlier used only by those who identified themselves as men, has now been extended to all secondary caregivers, irrespective of gender identity. It will benefit those who identify as LGBT+.
Lakshmi pointed it out as a big shift in policies. Surrogacy and adoption leaves have also been extended to employees who are primary caregivers irrespective of their gender identity.
Earlier, female employees were only eligible for surrogacy leave. Adoption leave was previously open to employees who identified themselves as men and women.
For bereavement leave, previously, an employee could avail this benefit of paid time in the event of the death of close family members defined as one's spouse, children, parents, grandparents, siblings and parents' in-laws. The definition of close family members has now been extended to cover partners of employees who identify as LGBT+.
Lakshmi said, "It's a continued journey to create equality. We continue to leverage our HR people advisors, frontline supervisors and our internal channels to communicate these changes effectively."
Last year, Accenture India accomplished its commitment to growing the percentage of women managing directors to 25% globally.