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Currys paid gender reassignment benefit celebrated by inclusion experts

Currys’ offer of paid gender reassignment leave, announced alongside a broader set of diversity and inclusion policies, is a great move say inclusion and HR experts.

The electric goods retailer developed the gender reassignment policy in consultation with staff.

It follows a similar move by Itsu in 2022.

The Currys offering includes six weeks of additional paid leave for those undergoing gender reassignment, which can be used flexibly for appointments, surgery and recovery.

Alongside the gender reassignment offering, the company is also offering paid leave for fertility treatments, premature birth support and pregnancy loss support.

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Sarah Burrows, co-chair of the Pride at Currys LGBT+ committee, has personally experienced the policy and said it was both progressive, delivered financial wellbeing and showcases inclusivity.

She said: “It gives crucial protection, and peace of mind knowing that your job is secure through what can be a long and difficult recovery.”

Speaking to HR magazine, Chris King, CEO of recruitment firm Lightning Travel, said the policy shows that Currys is taking a human-first, consultative approach which can be effective when it comes to inclusion.

They said: “It’s great to see a mainstream employer like Currys being proactive when it comes to recognising the needs of gender-diverse colleagues.

“Of course, policies in isolation mean very little without the supporting infrastructure in place.

“Forward-thinking businesses understand that equality is not the same as equity and that awareness around the different needs of all employees is essential.”

Elsewhere, Joseph Williams, CEO of inclusivity platform Clu, said the policy can help remind other firms that paid gender reassignment leave can help normalise the procedure and deliver countless HR and people benefits.

He told HR magazine that a move such as Currys’ can promote mental and emotional wellbeing, benefit the recruitment of future talent and showcase a firm as an employer of choice.

Williams said: “Such leave allows someone to get life-changing and often lifesaving treatment and seeing it as the same as getting a lump removed or therapy helps, plus for some people it’s vital.

“Furthermore, it can help sustain your talent pipeline and the more you look after your employees the more you’ll boost retention and productivity.”

For such a policy to be successful, Williams added, it must have input from medical professionals, respect individual privacy, be flexible to diverse needs and be guided by other resources.

Robbie de Santos, director of external affairs at Stonewall, said that he would also encourage any employer to have such a policy as they can help create safer working environments.

He told HR magazine: “Hiding your own identity at work has damaging consequences, so it is crucial for firms to establish clear frameworks and safe environments to effectively support LGBT+ people.

“We know that those who have embraced similar policies have been able to attract and retain talented colleagues from diverse backgrounds.”