Suncorp steps up with gender affirmation leave

HR leader says it’s important to let people 'take that time out'

Suncorp steps up with gender affirmation leave

Looking to be a “truly inclusive organisation,” Suncorp NZ recently unveiled a six-week gender affirmation leave policy for transgender employees.

“This is something that we feel very passionate about as part of our desire to be a truly inclusive organisation,” said Catherine Dixon, executive general manager, people and culture at Suncorp.

“No doubt it’s one of the more challenging inclusivity areas for most people to understand but it’s really important to give people the opportunity to take that time out.”

The news at Suncorp was announced to employees through the company’s intranet and well-received, she said, admitting they weren’t “necessarily expecting 100% support from everyone.”

“Not everyone understands the challenges of being in that position but also this wasn’t necessarily at the top of people’s agendas when they provided feedback about the type of leave they think we should be providing.”

Scott Jensen leads the “Amplify” ERG which is dedicated to the LGBTTQI+ community at Suncorp. He welcomed the news in a post on LinkedIn: “In some awesome and exciting news here at Suncorp New Zealand, we have introduced paid gender affirmation leave.”

Employee engagement through DEI

Suncorp has focused a lot on diversity and inclusion over the last few years, Dixon said, “so it’s not something that has come out of left field — I see it as part of our constant maturing to be an inclusive workforce,” she said.

“It’s not the first thing we’ve done, and it won’t be the last thing we do, but it’s a great step in that maturing process.”

Other companies that have introduced Gender Affirmation Leave here in Aotearoa are ANZ, Countdown, and Fletcher Building.

It’s heartening to see more workplaces offering leave entitlements for gender affirmation, Diversity Works New Zealand chief executive Maretha Smit told HRD.

“These types of policies are not only making the workplace better for transgender employees, but they also create a more inclusive culture overall and increase productivity.”

Research shows that 80% of transgender and gender-diverse employees consider LGBTTQIA+ inclusion initiatives an important factor in their level of engagement in the workplace, she said.

“It’s a way to support the needs of current and future employees and makes it easier for trans people to be themselves in the workplace.”

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