We all spend a significant portion of our life at work. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I know that to come to work and perform at my best, it’s important for me to feel comfortable and open with my colleagues. At Nestlé, I’ve experienced something beyond acceptance — people who really understand and relate to my identity and background.
I am proud to see that open spirit reflected in meaningful recognition with the company scoring 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for the fourth year in a row.
A diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture has always been a part of our DNA and we are determined to continue to learn from one another and stay true to our commitment to build an organization that draws strength and inspiration from our differences.
Here’s a look at more of the work we’ve done to make a score of 100 our baseline and lay a firm foundation to build upon in the future.
Providing Equal Benefits
Making the decision to move from the west coast to Arlington to work at Nestlé was easy, knowing that my husband Luke would receive the same benefits of any spouse at the company — he was assigned a career coach who helped him through the process of finding a new career on the east coast. In fact, Nestlé has a number of benefits that apply equally to straight and LGBTQ employees.
In 2015 Nestlé launched a progressive Parent Support Policy, which provides 18 weeks of paid leave for the primary caregiver of a newborn with an option to extend with 8 weeks unpaid leave. When they say primary caregiver, they mean any primary caregiver, regardless of gender or sexuality: biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, and spouses or domestic partners with primary responsibility for caring for a child.
Many same-sex couples look to adoption as their path to starting a family, which can be an expensive and emotional process. Nestlé understands this and has built protections into the policy — offering additional support for adoptive parents by helping eligible couples with financial support for adoption expenses, which can be substantial.
Benefits go beyond spousal and parental support, with some benefits designed specifically for the LGBTQ employee population. Our Included Health benefit helps employees and their families connect to LGBTQ-friendly medical services in their community – ensuring everyone has a medical service which makes them feel comfortable and supported. The company also has financial coverage available for trans employees undergoing gender-affirming treatment.
Advocacy from the Ground Up
Nestlé would not be able to make significant steps toward inclusive policies without listening to the people it matters to the most. To drive change from the ground-up, we’ve founded company-supported Employee Resource Groups like the Nestlé Pride Alliance, where my colleagues and I lead conversations about how we can improve further.
In the Nestlé Pride Alliance, we’ve already had several successes: we worked with the company to join Virginia Competes — a program developed by Equality Virginia for organizations that believe in welcoming LGBTQ employees, customers, and communities.
We’re making our voices heard at state and federal levels — as a member of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance (SFPA), alongside Mars, Danone and Unilever, we've joined with other businesses to call on public leaders to abandon anti-LGBTQ+ efforts that write discrimination into law and policy.
We’ve also driven support for organizations like the HRC, PFLAG, and The Trevor Project – offering grassroots donation drives with financial matches from Nestle USA. Our brands have gotten involved too, with Perrier and Sweet Earth among those donating to national and local LGBTQ support organizations.
We’ll continue to advocate for bills that align with the policies and protections we guarantee our LGBTQ employees, as well as offering financial support to the LGBTQ community across the country. We believe doing so is not only good for our business, our employees, and our consumers; we believe it is the right thing to do.
Together, we will continue building on the progress we’ve made, because an equitable and inclusive organization is a stronger organization for everyone.