Suncorp NZ has announced that it will provide leave entitlements to employees who want to affirm their gender identity. The insurer will offer six weeks of paid leave and up to 12 months of unpaid leave to give employees the time and support necessary to undergo the steps they need for gender affirmation.
Gender affirmation may take different forms for different people, and the leave entitlements are applicable to employees looking to tell friends and colleagues about the change, those who want to change their names and/or gender markers on identification documents, and those who want to undergo surgery and hormone therapy.
Catherine Dixon, Suncorp NZ EGM for people and culture, said that the insurer is working to create a workplace where employees know that they are supported in their gender affirmation.
“Providing this leave entitlement is the best way that we can offer support with what is often a complex process for people which can involve a variety of different steps over a period of time,” Dixon said. "We want our people who are working towards affirming their gender to be able to take time to go to appointments, speak with their family if they need to, and to have the space they need to get to where they want to be in their gender affirmation journey.”
Dixon also said that the societal challenges that transgender and non-binary people face in comparison to cis-gendered people make it more important that the former feel that they do not have to leave their jobs in order to undertake these life-changing decisions.
Scott Jensen, the New Zealand lead for the LGBTIQ+ focused employee resource group Amplify, spoke positively of the leave entitlement.
“I’m really hopeful that this new leave entitlement will make people more comfortable sharing their true selves with their colleagues,” Jensen said. “The more work the business does to support LGBTIQ+ employees in this way, the more we are able to continue to attract a diverse range of talent, reflective of the all the communities we see outside of the office.”
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