Axis Bank on Monday announced a charter of policies and practices for its employees and customers from the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, among others) community. The bank said the initiative, a part of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, will help promote and implement diversity, equity and inclusion.
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court had in September 2018 ruled that all sexual relationships between consenting adults in private should be decriminalised. "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.
Under the new policies, all employees of the bank can list their partners for mediclaim benefits irrespective of gender, sex and marital status, while they can also choose to use the restroom of their choice 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.
For its customers from the community, Axis Bank said it will roll out more of such initiatives in a phased manner. Effective from September 20, the bank's customers can open a 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.
“Our Bank’s wider ESG aligned commitments, the ‘diversity & inclusion’ agenda has been a strategic focus. Towards that our work internally focusses on creating equitable processes and policies that allow us to create space for everyone to thrive. We welcome you to join us in this journey as change makers. ‘ComeAsYouAre’ as we are ‘DilSeOpen’”, he added.