Private lender Axis Bank on Monday a range of policies and practices for its employees and customers from the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, among others) community.
The lender, in its official communique, stated that it is a part of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments and will help promote and implement diversity, equity and inclusion.
In September 2018, the Supreme Court had decriminalised all sexual relationships between consenting adults in private. “In keeping with the same spirit of the apex court and the bank’s wider ESG aligned commitments, it has initiated of #ComeAsYouAre – a charter of policies and practices that embrace diversity, equity and inclusion within the organisation and for its customers,” Axis Bank said in a release.
The new policies launched by the banks will offer all the employees of the bank the facility to include their partners for mediclaim benefits irrespective of gender, sex and marital status. They will also get the freedom to decide which restroom to use in accordance with their gender expression or gender identity. The bank said it has initiated all-gender restrooms at its large offices.
“We recognise that employees could have a gender or gender expression that’s different from their sex assigned at birth. They can choose to dress in accordance with their gender/ gender expression,” the statement said, adding the bank also has a human rights policy that offers redressal to challenges faced by employees from LGBTQUIA+ community.
Effective from September 20, the bank’s customers will now be able to open joint savings bank account or a term deposit with their same sex partner at its branches, while they can also make their same sex partner a nominee for their savings or term deposit account with the bank.
“Customers who are gender non binary, gender fluid or transgender persons will have the option of choosing their title from the option of ‘Mx’ in their savings or term deposit account,” the statement said.
“At Axis, we have put our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion that respects and recognises the importance of distinctive life journeys and several identities that extend beyond the paradigms of gender. This for us is as much about the invisible markers as it is about the visible ones. It is our belief that it fosters a culture of innovation and leverages the multiple talent pools that exist in a rich demography like ours,” Axis Bank Executive Director Rajesh Dahiya said.