The new leave is expected to benefit at least 900 team members
Supermarket company Coles has announced that it is introducing 10 days of paid leave for trans and gender-diverse team members who will be undergoing gender affirmation.
This announcement is part of the company's commitment in supporting the local LGBTQI+ community just a day after the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia.
The supermarket chain has "at least 900 team members who identify as transgender or gender diverse," according to Coles Pride Steering Committee chair David Brewster, who added the company wants to provide clear guidance for these employees.
"We need to have proper policy and education in this area so there is clear guidance around taking leave for this important transition in their life," said Brewster, who is also the company's chief legal and security officer.
In addition to the paid leave, Coles also signed up as an official partner of Pride Cup Australia, which advocates inclusivity and diversity in sport.
"Our Pride network has grown significantly over the past year, and we have Pride committees in every state, driving activity and engagement at a local level," said Brewster.
"Our partnership with Pride Cup Australia will help ensure that LGBTQI+ athletes at all levels can play sport in a safe place in all communities around Australia. Our goal is for the program to reach regional and rural areas as well as in metropolitan locations," he added.
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Meanwhile, Pride Cup Australia chief executive officer James Lolicato also expressed delight over its partnership with Coles.
"We are so delighted that Coles is supporting our organisation because as part of our partnership, Coles will help Pride Cup Australia expand their reach to over 750 clubs annually across Australia, by 2025," said Lolicato in a statement.
In a separate statement on LinkedIn, Lolicato said partnerships like this "ensure that our impact and support continue to grow alongside our incredible sporting clubs."
"Just like the local Coles supermarket, we know that sports clubs are at the very heart of so many regional and rural communities and these events make real inroads for LGBTI+ inclusion far beyond just the game day."
Aside from Coles, other companies and organisations such as NAB, PwC, and the Victorian Government have partnered with Pride Cup to push for further inclusion.