ASOS to give paid gender reassignment leave
ASOS LAUNCHED A NEW POLICY OFFERING PAID LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES UNDERGOING GENDER REASSIGNMENT SURGERY.
On October 7, 2021, ASOS announced its new policy of paid time off for employees experiencing a series of health-related events. In addition to gender reassignment surgery, the policy includes paid time off for those suffering:
- fertility treatment;
- loss of pregnancy; and
- other health-related events requiring time off, such as cancer treatment.
WHAT ARE OTHER ORGANIZATIONS DOING TO SUPPORT GENDER TRANSITIONS?
In July 2021, global tech company Avanade implemented a gender transition leave policy for its employees in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Avanade’s paid leave policy goes beyond reassignment surgery leave, as it also covers the initial non-invasive transition and hormone therapy.
Time will tell if other organizations will follow ASOS and Avanade in developing policies to specifically offer paid time off, either for those undergoing surgical gender reassignment or for a wider range of gender transitions.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL SITUATION OF GENDER CHANGE LEAVE?
The ECHR Code of Practice on the Equality Act 2010 explains that if an employee is absent from work because they are undergoing a gender reassignment, it is illegal to treat them less favorably than if they were absent for cause of illness or injury. This means that an employee who shows up for an appointment as part of the reassignment process should not be paid less than if they were on sick leave. However, the 2010 Equality Act does not specify a minimum duration that employers must provide in the event of absence from work due to gender reassignment.
WHAT IS THE BEST PRACTICE?
It is good practice to have a policy that specifically covers gender reassignment leave. It might be offensive to a person in transition to receive sickness benefit, as it could be seen to imply that the transition is a form of sickness. Any gender reassignment policy must offer paid leave at least equivalent to the organization’s sick leave policy, otherwise there is a risk of discrimination based on the fact that the employee is treated less favorably than his or her colleagues absent for medical reasons. the reasons.
Stonewall LGBT Rights Charity advises every business:
- a leave policy that covers absences related to the transition;
- a Work Transition Policy, to provide work-related advice to transitioning employees, their supervisors and colleagues; and
- a trans inclusion policy that sets out a commitment to supporting trans employees and protecting their privacy, as well as inclusive advice on trans facilities, dress codes, terminology and identities.
TRANS EQUALITY POLICY
Alternatively, Unison recommends that organizations develop a comprehensive trans equality policy. This is to ensure that there is a comprehensive policy in place to protect trans employees from discrimination and harassment, in addition to supporting gender reassignment, including non-medical transitions. The topics suggested by Unison are covered by a trans equality policy:
- a declaration of commitment to trans equality;
- gender equality in recruitment;
- processes for reporting and dealing with transphobic discrimination;
- how to support employees in transition; and
- monitoring and promoting trans equality within the organization.