UK regulator sets out guidance on LGBTQ+ corporate disclosures

LONDON (Reuters) - Companies should set clear policies and targets to nurture their next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders and diversify the workforce, Britain’s corporate governance regulator said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: LGBT flags and decorations hang at the Manchester Pride festival in Manchester, Britain August 25, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Powell

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) enforces Britain’s corporate governance code and set out what it describes as the first recommendations by a regulator on disclosing diversity policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning staff.

Listed companies in Britain must say if they comply or choose to ignore any part of the FRC code that covers all aspects of how companies should be run.

Last year the code introduced more comprehensive reporting on diversity and the FRC report published on Wednesday sets out how companies could flesh out disclosures under the code in relation to LGBTQ+ policies.

“To drive change, companies should regularly capture and transparently report the experiences of LGBTQ+ employees,” the FRC said in a statement.

Open businesses create stronger growth across global markets, generate higher levels of profitability, and attract and retain the best talent, FRC CEO Jon Thompson said.

“In other words, a lack of inclusivity is a huge risk to business,” he said.

The FRC report recommends that companies develop policies and procedures that protect staff from discrimination and globally offer benefits like parental and care for dependents leave regardless of sexual orientation and gender.

Companies could avoid “diversity fatigue” by designing and developing targets and training, and show visible evidence they are “walking the walk” by collecting, tracking and reporting employee data over time, the FRC report said.

Officials from Goldman Sachs and Lloyds bank to Walt Disney and Amazon were interviewed for the report on how they dealt with LGBTQ+ issues at work.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Kirsten Donovan