One of New Zealand’s biggest supermarket chains has introduced a new policy for its trans staff. LGBTI advocates are calling the policy ‘spectacular’.
Countdown is a supermarket chain in New Zealand that employs about 18,000 people in the country. It now has an official policy on supporting employees through transition, correct name and pronoun use. Employees will have the right to use restrooms and changing rooms of their choice.
The policy which was revealed today will allow sick leave for people undergoing medical treatments while transitioning.
‘We’re one of the largest employers in the country, and part of that responsibility is to ensure that we are leading our sector and are a great place to work,’ Countdown’s corporate affairs manager James Walker told the New Zealand Herald.
Walker said along with supporting trans staff members, Countdown team leaders will also be trained on trans issues.
‘A lot of the feedback we received from managers and team mates was worrying about using the right language with transitioning team members, or not knowing how to approach conversations or questions,’ he said.
‘We have several coaches who have extensive experience in helping people through the gender transitioning process, and can assist our leaders with potential conversations they might have with their teams.’
Agender NZ president Tracee Nelley helped Countdown in its policy consultation process. She called the new policy ‘spectacular’. Nelley said it would give employees incredible support, backup and protection. She also hoped other companies would follow suit.
‘I think it is one of the most amazing steps forward for a large scale business in this country,’ she said.
‘Purely because of what we’ve had transgender people experience for so many years; people don’t want to know, they’re ostracised in their workplaces, they’re discriminated against horrendously.’
Countdown has become known for its progressive policies after last year became on of the country’s first companies to introduce domestic violence leave.