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TCS becomes first Tata company to extend medical cover benefits to LGBT employees

Up to 50% of the cost of sex/gender reassignment surgery will be covered by insurance.

Updated: Dec 07, 2019, 02.44 PM IST
The new policy redefines 'spouse' as 'partner', thus broadening the scope to cover same-sex partners.
The new policy redefines 'spouse' as 'partner', thus broadening the scope to cover same-sex partners.
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 07, 2019)
MUMBAI: IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the largest private sector employer with a strength of over 4 lakh people on its payroll, has tweaked its health insurance policy to cover employees involved in a 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 same-sex partners.

Some progressive companies have already extended medical cover/family health insurance cover to same sex partners 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 spouse will now include 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 LGBTQ+ 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.

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KPMG India director and leader for inclusion and diversity Zainab Patel said: "When it comes to promoting LGBTQIA+ (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 LGBTQIA+ 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).

On the recent move by the government to pass the transgender person protection bill, Patel said it would be exemplary for India Inc to engage with medical insurance providers so as to make India medical insurance gender inclusive under which gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, etc. for transitioning transgender persons at the workplace is also covered within its ambit and also put in an effective complaints redressal mechanism in place.

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