The e-commerce company in Japan, Rakuten has revised the definition of “marriage” and “spouse” in its internal employment regulations to recognise equality of employee benefits to be availed by same-sex partners as well.
The organisation, which has global employee strength of more than 13,000 employees, approved the internal employment policy at the board of directors meeting convened on July 22, 2016. While same-sex marriage is not currently legal in Japan, Rakuten earlier recognised marriage certificate as per the law for the provision of benefits to employee’s spouse.
This extension of employee benefits to same-sex partners include congratulations leave when partners officiate the relationship, condolence leave in the event of a partner’s death and also consolation payments.
Akio Sugihara, Chief People Officer and Managing Executive Officer at Rakuten, said: “Rakuten brings together people from many different backgrounds and we are proud to support and provide a diverse and inclusive workplace with services and benefits that recognise same-sex partners.”
Driven by its Englishnization initiative to implement English as the official company language due to global expansion of its businesses, the number of non-Japanese employees has increased significantly.
To meet the diverse needs of its employees, Rakuten has worked to introduce systems that respect the individual, including the establishment of a Diversity and Inclusion Group.
This change is a part of the organisation’s wider efforts to imbibe a culture of diversity and inclusion, while focusing on the individual needs of employees.
The review on the spousal definitions was conducted by the company, following pertinent requests from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, considering the global nature of the organisation and increasing numbers of foreign employees as a part of the diverse workforce.
The organisation also runs a LGBT network, launched by LGBT employees, volunteers and LGBT allies in June 2016. Accompanying this revision, initiatives aimed at Rakuten LGBT customers are being implemented at Rakuten Wedding, Viber, Rakuten Card, Rakuten Life Insurance, and Rakuten Edy for same-sex family members. The company will continue to reflect on the further implementation of initiatives with other group services.
Rakuten also completed transition to internal company-system structure, which is comprised of 12 company groups to manage the business operations and one group headquarters to provide corporate functions, ensuring agility within each company, as well as accountability and transparency from a corporate governance perspective.
Within this structure, service development and web design resources are being deployed within each company, and each of the company leaders will be empowered to accelerate decision-making in order to respond to change and lead their respective businesses to new levels of growth.
Group headquarters will be charged with developing group strategy, providing support to the companies as required achieving their growth plans, and strengthening the core corporate functions essential to a robust and accountable corporate governance structure.
In order to strengthen governance across the Rakuten group, the new organizational structure includes the appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer at the Group level, as well as the new appointment of Company Chief Compliance Officers within each of the 12 companies.
Each Company Chief Compliance Officer will be tasked with ensuring execution of Group-wide compliance policies and programs, as well as supervising implementation and reporting of policies and programs unique to each company.
Going forward, Rakuten will continue to work to foster a workplace environment that allows all employees to utilize their unique qualities and display their individual talents to the fullest extent.
Image credit: japantimes.co.jp