Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has taken a significant step towards workplace equality in India by extending medical benefits to same-sex partners of its LGBT+ staff there. Since Section 377 of India’s penal code criminalizes homosexuality, LGBT+ partners are not typically covered under the insurance plans offered by employers.
The Times of India reports that RBS India’s new policy took effect on April 1. The legal situation for LGBT+ people in India means that the bank will be entirely responsible for the policy’s costs, but the company frames it as an important move towards a better work environment for its LGBT+ employees and allies, and promises more inclusivity initiatives to come.
Vikas Goel, the LGBT+ diversity lead at RBS India, told The Times of India: “We want to encourage our employees to come out freely on their orientation with no reason for fear, judgment or reservation. At the same time, we will ensure that privacy and confidentiality is maintained. Our endeavor is to ensure that we do the right thing and that all our policies treat all our employees equally and give them a fair opportunity to grow.”