Advocates urge university to lead on gender affirmation leave

Equality Tasmania has called on the University of Tasmania to consult with the transgender community about appropriate leave for gender affirmation.

The advocacy group say the move would position the university as global leader on support for trans and gender diverse staff.

Yesterday Equality Tasmania issued a statement urging the University of Tasmania to embed appropriate gender affirmation leave in its enterprise agreement with staff after the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) expressed concern about the University’s stance on the issue.

The University has confirmed its intention to include some provision for gender affirmation leave as part of its enterprise agreement with staff, although Equality Tasmania is concerned by reports from the NTEU that the University may not go far enough.

“We welcome the University’s decision to include some gender affirmation leave in the agreement,” Equality Tasmania spokesperson Charlie Burton said.

“As it finalises its proposal, we urge the University to consult with the trans and gender diverse community to ensure it adopts leave provisions that reflect what trans and gender diverse people say they need, and to meet – or even exceed – the good practice established by other organisations in Australia and overseas.”

“At the least, this means a specific gender affirmation leave program that provides thirty days paid leave for permanent and casual staff that is not at a manager’s discretion.”

“Good practice means providing specific gender-affirming leave for a length of time that allows an employee to navigate the social, medical and legal issues required to affirm their gender. This is also good for employers, who benefit from retaining valuable staff.”

“That’s why organisations that have consulted with the trans and gender diverse community in the development of their policies, such as the University of Sydney and Westpac, have introduced 30 days of gender affirmation leave.”

Dr Burton also notes some organisations such as Salesforce provide reimbursement for legal, wardrobe and counselling needs for gender affirmation.

“Equality Tasmania urges the University to be a global leader in the support it provides trans and gender diverse staff.”

Image: UTas Facebook

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