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Business

Japanese employers take initiative on LGBT rights in workplace

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Some companies are taking the initiative to protect LGBT rights at the workplace.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Thirty Japanese employers, including IBM Japan, Sony and Panasonic, have collaborated on new workplace guidelines designed to welcome LGBT people.

The initiative comes amid a broader movement, still confined mostly to the West, seeking fair treatment of sexual minorities. Worker rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have become an important management theme for Japanese companies trying to globalize, a challenge that requires recruiting diverse talent.

The 30 employers, which also include members of the finance and consumer products industries and academia, will unveil their project soon, intending it as a model for others.

Drafted by a team of human resources managers, the guidelines define LGBT employees' partners as equivalent to spouses. This means these employees are entitled to receive the same benefits, such as cash wedding gifts and time off to take care of infirm spouses, as their non-LGBT co-workers.

LGBT-friendly provisions also feature in performance evaluations, dress codes, and rules for lavatories and other facilities. In addition, the guidelines call on employers to grant leaves of absence for sex change surgery and take LGBT employees' gender preference into account when making hotel room accommodations for business trips.

The employers will work to adapt their internal rules to the guidelines. An award program for compliance is planned.

(Nikkei)

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