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Panasonic grapples with its LGBTI policy ahead of 1 April kickoff

Panasonic grapples with its LGBTI policy ahead of 1 April kickoff

The Panasonic stand at the CES2016 show in Las Vegas in January

Ahead of its kickoff at the start of next month to recognise same-sex partnerships within the company, Panasonic Corp. is currently grappling with mixed responses from its various offices.

Declining to specify which nations gave poor feedback to its shift in policy, a company spokesperson instead shared that the policy was welcomed in the United States and Europe.

‘I never felt this much how different a response can get by nation,’ said spokesperson Tetsuya Senmatu, also a human resources manager in the company.

The Japanese company, which has offices around the world including United States, China, Europe, Middle East as well as Africa, will start recognizing same-sex partnerships as the equivalent of marriage on 1 April. The policy will kick off in the company’s headquarters in Japan, while details of how the policy will be applied in other countries are currently still under consideration.

It is the first major Japanese company to introduce this move.

The main reason for this introduction was based on the premise that Panasonic Corp. opposes all forms of discrimination, as shared by Senmatsu. According to him, the new policy has its advantage when an employee in a same-sex partnership is being transferred to another city on assignment.

Considerations that such a move will create an advantage in recruiting talent, though, was not a driving factor to make this decision, Senmatsu added.

While Senmatsu admitted that he is not sure of the exact number of employees that will be affected by this new policy, he estimated it to be around ‘7 percent of the population’.

Among other changes, the company will also start introducing initiatives to encourage employees to take more time off work, so as to pursue studies and other interests outside.

‘We think our workers need to go outside the company and learn about the world,’ said Senmatsu.