Why are “special” types of leave needed?

Many universities are including Gender Affirmation Leave in their current EBA negations and there are likely some people wondering why.

A great explanation was given in the UOW Ally Network Chat back in October (that I only just saw, it’s been a busy year). I have pulled out the points from that post, as it the last day of the university year and I have not asked permission to re-post as a quote:

  • gender affirmation is not a sickness
  • someone going through gender affirmation will need their sick leave available for when they get sick, colds, flu, sporting injuries etc.
  • not everyone uses maternity/paternity, carer’s or bereavement leave, and hopefully no-one needs to use domestic violence leave and these people also need their sick leave to be available for “sick leave” reasons.
  • providing these additional types of leave creates a more equitable workplace for everyone – which is good for staff and good for business

For anyone not sure why this “extra” leave is good for business, we are currently three years into the COVID-experience. If someone has had to use their Sick Leave for reasons other than illness, then it is more likely they are going to come to work unwell. Some of the most common forms of unwell are respiratory-related illness like flu and now coronavirus variants. These are highly contagious and spread through the workforce and the community. Allowing sick people to stay home keeps us all healthy.

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