Suncorp Group is excited to announce it is introducing new leave entitlements for employees affirming their gender.
Six weeks’ paid Gender Affirmation Leave, and up to 12 months unpaid leave, will be offered to applicable Suncorp employees, allowing those employees to have the time and financial support required to engage in the steps they need to affirm their gender.
Gender affirmation looks different for every individual. It is often a complex process that involves multiple steps over a sustained period of time.
#Gender-affirming processes could include some or all of these steps:
telling their families, friends and colleagues about the change
adopting the style of dress or presentation that better aligns with their gender identity
changing their pronouns and/or name.
legally changing their name and/or gender marker on identification documents
undergoing surgery, hormone therapy, or both
attending medical appointments
experiencing rest and recovery from medical procedures.
Suncorp employee Vera Dawson, who went through her own gender affirming process, says this kind of leave will undoubtedly make people more comfortable to share their true identity with their organisation.
“Seeing that Suncorp has this kind of leave entitlement definitely has an impact on how new-starters view, trust, and feel supported by their employer,” Vera says.
Vera says her own experience with gender affirmation hasn’t been easy, and in some aspects, is ongoing. The new Gender Affirmation Leave entitlement offers employees the opportunity to utilise the leave flexibly, which Vera says is important given her ongoing appointments, which often have a significant wait-time.
She mentions that some of the appointments she needs to attend are extremely difficult for a person working full-time, but the new leave entitlement offers a new kind of tailored support that would enable her, and others seeking the leave, the financial freedom to meet those ongoing needs.
Vera Dawson, Suncorp employee
People like me now have the freedom and the support of the organisation to make the appointments they need, and it’s just going to make things so much more painless for them.
Suncorp’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), Amplify, represents the interests of the LGBTIQ+ community and its allies at Suncorp. Chair of Amplify, Olivia Sinden, says that up until now, many organisations haven’t understood the complexity of affirming one’s gender, and the barriers people go through just to feel comfortable in their own skin.
“Many of the changes required by people affirming their gender take multiple appointments, the majority of which are only available during standard working hours Monday to Friday. On top of this, the unemployment rate among the gender diverse populations is over triple the Australian average, so re-entering the workforce has not always been an easy undertaking for this community,” she says.
Olivia Sinden, Chair of Suncorp's Amplify ERG
When we’re explicitly inclusive and proudly support intersectional diversity, people know that Suncorp is a place they can feel safe to be themselves in the workplace.
Olivia says the increased safety and support that LGBTIQ+ employees will gain from this change signifies the progressive steps Suncorp is taking to acknowledge, and celebrate, its employee diversity.
“When we’re explicitly inclusive and proudly support intersectional diversity, people know that Suncorp is a place they can feel safe to be themselves in the workplace,” Olivia says.
Providing access to gender affirmation leave is aligned to Suncorp’s commitment to ensuring an inclusive environment for all employees. Read more about our commitment to diversity here.