Experts praise HUL’s policy for helping staff deal with abuse

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has implemented a policy to help employees cope with domestic abuse, noting that India Inc. is expanding the scope of its human resources policies to make them worker friendly.

Employees who are subject to or have survived acts of physical or emotional abuse outside the workplace can access urgent medical care and psychological counseling for themselves and their families, as well as paid leave of up to 10 days, has established India’s largest consumer goods producer.

“This policy aims to protect and provide relief to employees who have survived abuse or physical or emotional abuse outside the workplace, such as in their personal (home) spaces or other public spaces, including online.” , HUL said.

The policy will cover more than 20,000 HUL employees, including white-collar and blue collar workers. Globally, Unilever launched the framework in October in all markets in which it operates.

The move follows reports of increasing cases of domestic violence, as employees began working from home after worldwide lockdowns imposed to combat covid-19. According to HUL, one in three women and one in seven men are abused at some point in their life.

“First, the workplace is evolving. So far, we have seen in our practice that organizations have been reluctant to address the problem of domestic abuse among employees. But covid-19 and the blockade have added a new dimension to this with people working from home. So, after covid, we encouraged them to re-examine their human resources policies to address various aspects of the “new normal”. If HUL has looked into this, it is a step in the right direction as it will definitely have a positive impact on productivity and contribute to the well-being of all employees, “said Shivakami Ravichandran, head of the study, (Chennai) at Cohere Consultants, at practice boutique covering legal, compliance and gender-related aspects of workplace sexual harassment.

According to Nand Kishore, partner of the law firm DSK Legal, “From the perspective of Indian companies, I have not seen this type of domestic violence policy. Basically, the harassment policies in place, the POSH Act, are limited to workplace harassment. Now, since the home is an extended workplace, perhaps it’s a good idea to actually cover those forms of harassment as well. “

HUL’s initiative could set a precedent for India Inc. which has embraced human resources policies with the aim of making workplaces fair and inclusive.

Last year, Tata Steel introduced a policy that covers employee partners who identify themselves as part of the LGBTQ + community to take advantage of the human resources benefits permitted by law.

The LaliT Suri Hospitality group too proudly identifies itself as an LGBTQ-friendly workplace. The idea is to provide more suitable opportunities for people in the community and to put an end to any form of stigma attached to them that could prevent them from finding employment.

More recently, cricketer Virat Kohli’s decision to leave the ongoing India-Australia tour while his wife Anushka Sharma is expecting their first child has also highlighted more men seeking paternity leave and stepping up participation in chores. domestic.

In a new policy announced in August, the Zomato food ordering platform allowed all women (including transgender people) to take up to 10 days off in a year.

“Zomato knows that men and women are born with different biological realities. Our job is to make sure we make room for our biological needs, without lowering the bar on the quality of our work and the impact we create, “the company said in a blog post in August. 35% of Zomato employees they are females.

Pop culture has also played a role in strengthening the conversation about domestic abuse. Indian movies may have long portrayed the woman as a mute sufferer, but recent releases like Taapsee Pannu’s Thappad and Netflix original Bulbbul are more in tune with the female lead’s evolution as someone who can stand up for herself.

Lata Jha contributed to this story.

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