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Countdown offers two weeks extra paid leave for any employee 'affirming their gender'

Countdown today announced it's offering two weeks extra paid leave for any employee "affirming their gender".

Countdown, Mt Roskill. Source: 1 NEWS

Countdown says the change to its Gender Diverse and Gender Affirmation Policy also means that team members can take an extra two weeks unpaid leave as they "take the necessary steps to affirm their gender".

In total, employees can take four weeks extra leave to affirm their gender - two weeks paid and two unpaid - on top of normal leave. 

Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH Pooja Subramanian supports the move.

“The Counting Ourselves Study (2019) showed us that 57 per cent of trans and non-binary people surveyed didn't disclose their gender identity at work due to fear of discrimination.

"We're stoked to see companies such as Countdown recognise the barriers our communities face with transitioning at work and take the necessary steps to ensure trans and non-binary employees feel supported by their employer.

“We hope to see more companies take similar steps to work towards a future where trans and non-binary people can thrive in their workplace,” Pooja says.

Countdown’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability Kiri Hannifin also released a statement on the announcement.

“We were one of the first employers in Aotearoa to launch a Gender Affirmation Policy (previously called the Transgender Transitioning Policy) back in 2017, that would support our team who are taking steps to affirm their gender.

"It’s been a critical part of opening up conversations about gender diversity and gender affirmation in our business, and I’m really pleased to now be taking this next important step,” says Hannifin.

“Gender affirmation can be difficult and complex, often involving medical appointments, surgical procedures and mental health impacts. By providing two weeks of paid leave, we can give our team the ability to look after themselves without having to worry about missing work and the pressures that can come with that."