20 Jun 2016

Businesses leading the way in LGBT rights in Japan

Thirty employers in the country have signed up to a new set of workplace guidelines

In a country where same-sex marriage is still illegal companies including IBM Japan, Sony and Panasonic, are guaranteeing LGBT couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

Drafted by a team of human resources managers from the companies included, the guidelines define LGBT employees' partners as equivalent to spouses. Further details are expected soon and an award program for compliance is planned.

The companies’ employees will now be able to apply for leave to care for their partners or receive financial support and time off to enter into a civil partnership, Efe news reported. Transgender workers will also be able to apply for leave to undergo sex-change surgeries.

Changes in dress codes and washrooms at the workplace will also be introduced according to the guide, Nikkei daily reported on Friday.

Although same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, the country has seen a number of steps to recognise homosexual relationships recently, including relationship registration available in a number of prefectures.