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IBM offers benefits, health coverage to employees’ partners – gay or straight

/ 08:06 AM January 14, 2016

MANILA, Philippines — In line with a growing global trend, the Philippine unit of United States-based tech giant IBM said it has decided to offer benefits, including health coverage, to the partners of employees from the opposite or same gender.

The move follows policies adopted by other multinationals, including Thomson Reuters Manila, which was the first in the region when it announced this policy in 2013.

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In a statement on Tuesday, IBM said that LGBTQ+ employees, mainly covering those who have identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, “can now enroll their domestic partners as qualified dependents and beneficiaries for the same benefits entitled to an employee’s spouse.”

Specifically, it said those benefits would include health coverage, election as beneficiary for group life insurance, and ‘accompanied employee’ relocation entitlements.

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IBM Philippines is the first IBM unit in the ASEAN region to provide LGBTQ+ domestic partner benefits.

In Asia Pacific, IBM Japan is the most recent IBM company to extend benefits to LGBTQ+ partners, a few months ahead of the Philippines.

IBM offers same-sex partner benefits to U.S. employees since 1996, prior to their legalization of same-sex marriage.

“With IBM’s enduring commitment to diversity and its heritage of inclusiveness, our company has always strived to sustain the support to LGBTQ+ employees,” Divya Sharma, Philippines HR Area Leader of IBM Philippines, said in the statement.  “Prior to making these benefits available, domestic partners of  LGBTQ+ IBM employees in the Philippines are able to avail leaves and other special benefits.”

“Our people are central to IBM’s success – regardless of race, creed, gender, or disability,” said Luis Pineda, President & Country General Manager, IBM Philippines.

“Diversity goes beyond fair hiring practices and protection for all employees. IBMers around the world work in an environment where diversity – including diversity of thought – is the norm, this promotes inclusiveness, and at the same time, create better innovation and outcomes,” he added.

Within IBM, an internal LGBTQ+ business resource group called “EAGLE,” which stands for “Employee Alliance for LGBTQ+ Empowerment,” regularly collaborates with human resources and the management to organize activities that raise awareness on diversity policies and programs within the company, the statement showed.

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As noted, inclusion in the workplace is a growing trend globally. Peter Buenaseda, senior site officer and head of human resources Thomson Reuters Manila, said the initiative was a natural step for the 60,000-strong global organisation.

“To succeed, we aim to draw on our diverse talent, build an environment focused on  performance, and drive innovation through collaboration and inclusion,” he said.

“Specific to Thomson Reuters Manila, our diversity and inclusion program supports our  broader employee engagement initiatives, provides us with competitive advantage, and  strongly differentiates our employer brand from other companies competing for the same talent,” he added.  SFM

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TAGS: bisexual, career, diversity, Divya Sharma, EAGLE, Employee Alliance for LGBTQ+ Empowerment, employee's benefits, Employment, Gay, Global Nation, health coverage, IBM, job, lesbian, lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer, LGBTQ, Luis Pineda, profession, queer, transgender
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