Westpac’s new workplace agreement offers a landmark four weeks of paid leave for transgender staff to begin or continue transitioning.

Transgender employees will also be able to take a year of unpaid leave while they are transitioning, The Canberra Times reported.

Staff will be able to take the paid leave in full, or in separate blocks depending on their needs.

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

“This is something we feel passionate about, so we’re pleased to have it in our EA.”

Westpac was awarded ‘Platinum’ status at this year’s Australian LGBTI Inclusion awards, a recognition of high performance across at least four out of five years.

In 2016, the company was named Employer of the Year as part of the awards handed out by ACON’s Pride in Diversity program.

Victoria’s Deakin University has also reportedly introduced paid leave for trans employees, allowing up to ten days off for staff undergoing transition.

Further reading: ‘How to respect trans people in the workplace’ – Katherine Wolfgramme

‘I was terrified of what might happen’: the struggle of being trans at work

‘I lived in fear’: coming out of the work closet

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