Newsletter

October 10, 2016

 

'work with Pride' (wwP) Launches Index to Promote LGBT-inclusive Workplaces in Japan

Keywords: Diversity Newsletter Resilience Well-Being 

JFS Newsletter No.169 (September 2016)

Photo
Image by krytofr Some Rights Reserved.

In June 2016, a Japanese nonprofit group called "work with Pride" (wwP) announced Japan's first index to evaluate corporate efforts to support inclusiveness for LGBT employees and other sexual minorities. Twenty-four companies and groups joined a voluntary working group to develop the index through discussions over a period of six months.

work with Pride
http://www.workwithpride.jp/pride.html#prideEnglish

The index was named the PRIDE Index, representing the hope to create LGBT-friendly workplaces where people can work with pride. Each letter represents one of the five pillars in the index: Policy, Representation, Inspiration, Development, and Engagement.

With cooperation from wwP, this month's JFS newsletter introduces the complete text of the PRIDE Index, which takes the form of a series of questions and suggestions.


PRIDE INDEX

1. Policy: Action Declaration

Has your company implemented a formal policy with regards to sexual minorities including LGBT, and is such policy widely disclosed internally and externally (via the internet, etc.)?

  • The policy should include the following principles: the company and its employees shall not discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity (or any other word that has the same meaning) or the company and its employees shall respect LGBT employees.
  • For this year, it is adequate if the policy includes a prohibition of discrimination based on either sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • It is acceptable if there is either a separate policy or if the policy is included in the code of conduct / a human rights policy / diversity declaration, etc.

Suggestions

  • Include both sexual orientation and gender identity in the policy.
  • Include "the company's position on LGBT with respect to employees" and "a code of conduct for employees regarding LGBT" in the policy.
  • Share the LGBT policy with students, etc., as a standard recruitment procedure.
  • Top management should not only share the LGBT policy but also refer to the policy internally and externally so the policy is ingrained into the culture.

Expectations for next steps

  • To establish and publish an LGBT policy with respect to clients and business partners.

2. Representation: LGBTA network

Does your company provide all employees, whether LGBT or allies, with a forum to express ideas to the company or exchange opinions with each other regarding sexual minority matters (for example, by establishing an LGBTA network, providing an internal or external counselling / consultation service to employees or conducting an anonymous employee survey, etc.)? In addition, does your company make an effort to increase the number of allies and make their support visible?

[Note: In LGBTA the A stands for Allies.]

Suggestions

  • One of the purposes of a network is to create an LGBT inclusive workplace. It is recommended that allies participate in the LGBTA network. Sexual minorities do not need to be the only members.
  • Employees should not be forced to identify as a sexual minority or as an ally when establishing an LGBTA network in order to avoid outing an employee.
  • If establishing an LGBTA network at the company is difficult, one option to start can be to set up a contact for counselling / consulting or have the company participating in an outside LGBTA network.

3. Inspiration: Raising Awareness

Over the past three years, has your company made any efforts to promote sexual minority awareness, such as providing training or media tools for awareness, sending out messages within the company via the intranet or setting an pride week / month, etc.?

Suggestions

  • Aim to provide training to all employees, cascading to participants in the following order:
  1. Human resources functions (it is especially important for those who recruit new employees).
  2. Managers (it is desired that training to managers be mandatory. An employee will feel more comfortable to come out (as a sexual minority) if the employee's manager has become an ally after participating in awareness training).
  3. All employees in a sequential manner (for example, training to the head office first and later expanding to local offices and manufacturing locations, or training to permanent employees first, expanding to contract employees and temp staff).
  • Provide training to newly graduated employees and mid-career employees upon joining the company.
  • Provide education on how to handle when an LGBT employee comes out to him / her and to maintain confidentiality.
  • The training should include content about both sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Conduct group work such as "things to keep in mind for conversations regarding sexuality" so as to assimilate "the way of thinking" in addition to the right words.

Expectations for next steps

  • Provide ongoing training rather than one-time training.
  • Check the degree of awareness of employees by way of a survey.

4. Development: Human Resources Management Policy and Programs

If your company has the below human resources management policies and programs, do they apply to employees who are married to, or have a partnership with, a same-sex partner as well as his / her families? Or, if the employee applies, would the policy or program be applied? ("Launching an approach for such policy and program is deemed as meaningful" in this year's evaluation. If one of the following items applies to your company, your company is evaluated as "accomplished." Please note that human resources management policies and programs are not limited to the following items.)

  1. Leave / leave of absence (leave for marriage, maternity, childcare, adoption of a child, and providing care to family)
  2. Allowance (congratulatory payments, condolence payments, congratulatory payments for giving birth, family allowance, and rent subsidy)
  3. Transfers (transfer allowance, moving costs, leave, and subsidy for the language school)
  4. Other employee benefits (company-owned housing, family days, family discounts, and recreation facilities)

Do any of the items below for transgender employees apply if the employee applies for it? (If even just one item is applicable, answer 'Yes'.)

  1. Your company accepts the gender that your employee wants to select (in connection with health checks, dress, and name).
  2. Your company supports an employee to continue employment in the event of gender reassignment surgery, hormone treatment, etc., (leave of absence, care for working arrangements).
  3. Your company provides infrastructure that anyone can utilize regardless of gender, such as toilets, changing rooms, etc.

Suggestions

  • Policies and the programs should be well-known among the employees.
  • Whenever possible, there is flexibility in the way an employee can apply for the policies and programs so an employee can apply confidentially.
  • As a consequence of an employee coming out, certain issues may arise, such as his / her manager or colleague making inappropriate remarks on being an LGBT. In such case, it is necessary to (i) take measures to support the LGBT employee, such as providing counselling or a transfer to another department, and (ii) implement a training program to prevent the recurrence of such issue.
  • Be considerate if a request is made regarding who to stay with in the room at business trips and company events.
  • Consider the potential risks of an LGBT employee being asked to transfer or take a business trip to a country where homosexuality is criminalized.
  • Consider the same sex partner when transferring an LGBT employee.
  • Be mindful of transgender employees regarding unisex / gender-neutral uniforms (or a uniform that s/he can select at his / her choice).
  • Consider that the bathroom that a transgender employee wants to use could differ depending on each person's or each company's facility situation. (Transgender employees do not necessarily want a gender neutral bathroom.)
  • If a transgender employee wants to work in accordance with his / her gender identity, create a team involving HR, the department to which the employee belongs and the relevant departments needed to support the employee.

5. Engagement / Empowerment: Social Responsibility and External Activities

Has your company conducted any CSR activities / programs or external activities to assimilate social awareness towards sexual minorities within the past year?

For example, sponsor, promote or donate to LGBT events and activities, hold company events to promote awareness among employees, industry lobby groups, promote / sponsor educational events about LGBT for the younger generations.

Suggestions

  • Sponsoring or promoting events will not only assimilate social understanding, but will also help promote the company's philosophy / vision within the company. Encouraging employees to attend these events will also help spread awareness among the workforce. (If starting LGBT initiatives or implementing policies and programs is difficult, one option is to begin by getting involved with external CSR activities.)

As this is the first year of the PRIDE index, "work with Pride" (wwP) intends the index to be used with an emphasis on whether or not companies have started implementing the action items, rather than on the scope and level of implementation. In the future, after monitoring the efforts of Japanese companies, wwP intends to review the evaluation index for further improvements year by year. When this PRIDE index was announced in June 2016, wwP started inviting companies to report their examples of actions to achieve LGBT inclusive workplaces, and will award companies that have achieved excellent performance and publicize best practices at a seminar on October 26, 2016.

JFS will continue watching efforts in Japan to create diverse and inclusive workplaces where all employees, including those who identify as LGBT, can work with pride.

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