To help raise awareness about the importance of inclusion and diversity in the workplace, Fletcher Building is marking International Coming Out Day by announcing the introduction of 10 days paid Gender Affirmation Leave and Transitioning at Work Guidelines to support employees who are gender transitioning.
Claire Carroll, Fletcher Building’s Chief People Officer, says “We whole-heartedly believe in a diverse and welcoming culture and have already introduced gender-neutral bathrooms and include our Pride and Rainbow Commitment into new employee inductions. We realised that introducing Gender Affirmation Leave along with Transitioning at Work Guidelines is another simple thing we can do to support a minority in our community who needs it and for whom it is incredibly meaningful. Plus, it is important because it sends a sign of support for the entire Rainbow Community and any future employees.”
The impact of Fletcher Building openly committing to supporting employees affirming their gender is invaluable according to Storm Jury, who is an out transwoman working at Fletcher Building’s Tradelink business in Australia.
“Honestly, the first time I heard Fletcher Building was wanting to do this, I cried. A business committing to this is such a huge deal for people in my community. Transitioning means different things to each person who goes through it. It is very dynamic and individual, so having the leave to do whatever you require as part of your transition and take your own path is really helpful,” says Storm Jury.
It is also significant she says, because it gives people the choice to bring their true selves to work.
“Not living as your authentic self, takes monumental strength because you can feel stuck, and some people even feel so trapped they feel no other option but to quit their job, even a job they love, to be able to transition.
“This creates meaningful change because it will help people transitioning feel comfortable at work. After all, they can stop thinking about it and just get on with their work. For me, that is a big thing, you’re on an equal playing field and equality is there,” says Storm Jury.
The new Transitioning at Work Guidelines are intended to help those transitioning navigate the process and to also help their managers and colleagues show support and respect, and an understanding that they are still the same person.
“One of our values is ‘Better Together’ and we’ve kept that in mind as we worked with our Rainbow network to create these guidelines for our people, because protecting and caring for each other while openly supporting diversity is how we really are truly better together on a day-to-day basis,” says Claire Carroll.
Fletcher Building’s group of companies has over 14,700 permanent employees across New Zealand, Australia, and the South Pacific. To be eligible to use the Gender Affirmation Leave the person must have been a permanent Fletcher Building employee for a minimum of 12 months and in the process of, or about to start, transitioning.