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Westpac grants staff transgender leave

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Westpac staff undergoing gender transitions will be granted four weeks of paid leave and a year’s unpaid leave for the process.

Employees of the major bank will be allowed to take the transition leave in one block or in one or more blocks.

This comes after 90 per cent of Westpac employees voted for a new enterprise agreement last Friday, which included a suite of other changes to leave entitlements and remuneration.

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Westpac head of inclusion and diversity Sam Turner said the major bank would offer access to counselling and support services to staff wanting to transition to a different gender.

“Westpac has a proud history of supporting the LGBTIQ community and we want employees to be themselves, no matter their gender or sexual orientation,” she said.

According to the ABS Census of Population and Housing 2016, 1,260 people in Australia identify as a gender other than male or female.

“This is something we feel passionate about, so we’re pleased to now become one of Australia’s largest employers to call out this singular specific category of leave in our [enterprise agreement], over and above existing leave entitlements,” she added.

Photo: Supplied

The agreement includes changes to the paid parental leave, which has been doubled from 10 to 20 weeks. Paid parental leave for support carers has also been extended from two to three weeks.

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Staff experiencing domestic and family violence will be granted 20 days paid leave, according to the Financial Services Union.

Finance Sector Union national assistant secretary Nathan Rees described the move to introduce paid leave for those undergoing gender transition as a “positive step”.

“I’d congratulate Westpac on paid domestic violence leave,” he told Fairfax Media. “It is a really solid acknowledgement of the issue.”

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Compassionate leave has been extended to from two days to three per occasion.

Three days of leave for ‘Sorry Business’ practices will also be granted to staff with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Employees that earn $82,500 or less will enjoy a 3.25 per cent pay rise, and staff earning $82,501 to $106,500 will see a pay increase of minimum 2.25 per cent.

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