Accenture India updates its People policies to Gender Neutral

Accenture India has become among the first in the country to shift away from gender binaries. The company’s Policies will now focus on the caregiver rather than gender or marital status.

The company’s life insurance benefit was restricted to the employee’s spouse and family, but now the employee can choose the nominee of their choice.

Accenture India employees who identify themselves as LGBT+ can nominate their respective partners too.

Lakshmi C, MD, and lead – human resources said that the company undertook an extensive review of its people policies to make them gender-neutral and ensure that employees feel valued, included, and benefited equally from the policies of the company.

 She said, “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 benefits.”

Accenture India has more than 2 lakh employees in the country, and these policy changes came into effect in December.

The new parenting policies focus on primary and secondary caregivers outside the definition of traditional family norms. Maternal leave, which was previously restricted to women, has now been extended to all eligible employees who can bear and give birth to a child.

Lakshmi C further said that a transman who can bear a child is eligible for 26-week maternity leave.

The company increased its maternity-leave benefits to 22 weeks of paid leave, significantly up from the previous statutory requirement of 12 weeks and currently 26 weeks of maternity leave.

Paternity leave, which previously benefitted only men, has been extended to all secondary caregivers, irrespective of gender, to help those who identify as LGBT+.

Surrogacy and adoption leave has been extended to employees who are primary caregivers irrespective of their gender. Previously, only female employees were eligible for surrogacy leave. Adoption leave was once open for employees who identify themselves as men and women.

The definition of close family members has now been extended to cover partners of employees who are LGBT+.

In 2016, Accenture India was one of the first companies to introduce medical cover for gender reassignment surgery.

In 2017, the firm was among the first companies to set a global goal of achieving a gender-balanced workforce with 50 percent for both women and men by 2025.