IBM announced that LGBT employees in the Philippines can now enroll their domestic partners as qualified dependents and beneficiaries for the same benefits entitled to an employee’s spouse.
With this development, IBM in the Philippines becomes 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 US 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,” said Divya Sharma, Philippines HR area leader, IBM Philippines. “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 and 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.”
LGBTQ domestic partner benefits will now include health coverage, election as beneficiary for group life insurance, and ‘accompanied employee’ relocation entitlements.
Within IBM, an internal LGBTQ business resource group called “EAGLE” (Employee Alliance for LGBTQ+ Empowerment) collaborates with human resources and the management to organize activities that raise awareness on diversity policies and programs within the company.
IBM’s first written Equal Opportunity Policy was signed by former IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr. in 1953 – 11 years ahead of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the U.S.