Coles supermarket makes big move for transgender staff

coles supermarket transgender policy idahobit
Image: Orderinchaos/Wikimedia Commons

Supermarket giant Coles has announced that trans and gender diverse staff who are transitioning will be entitled to up to 10 days of paid gender affirmation leave.

The supermarket giant’s legal and safety chief David Brewster said the policy change is an important step for the company’s commitment to workplace inclusion.

“We know that we have at least 900 team members who identify as transgender or gender diverse,” Brewster said.

“We need proper policy and education in this area so there’s clear guidance around taking leave for this important transition in their life.”

The supermarket’s policies also state trans staff will “be supported as the gender with which you identify, wear the clothes or uniform of your affirmed gender, use the toilets and change rooms of your affirmed gender and be referred to by the name of your affirmed gender too.”

Coles’ announcement comes one year after supermarket rival Woolworths announced its own policy on gender affirmation leave.

Woolworths allows staff up to two weeks paid leave, and two weeks of unpaid leave. The time off is to support the staff as they “take the necessary steps to affirm their gender,” Woolworths says.

Coles gives support to Pride Cup Australia

David Brewster is chair of the Coles Pride Steering Committee. He said the company’s Pride network has grown over the past 12 months.

“We have Pride committees in every state, driving activity and engagement at a local level,” he said.

Coles has also signed up as an official partner of Pride Cup Australia. The LGBTIQ+ organisation works with sporting clubs at all levels across Australia to promote inclusivity and diversity in sport.

Brewster said the partnership will “help ensure that LGBTQI+ athletes at all levels can play sport in a safe place in all communities around Australia.”

Pride Cup Australia CEO James Lolicato said the partnership means they’ll reach over 750 clubs annually by 2025.

“We know that sports clubs are at the very heart of so many communities,” he said.

“These events make real inroads for LGBTQI+ inclusion far beyond game day.

“When I was growing up, homophobic comments were thrown around the field more than the ball was.

“I didn’t feel welcome or safe to be myself in sport.

“To now see Pride Cup games being held in so many sports across the country is incredible.”

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