'Transition leave' sought for transgender employees
The government is being urged to endorse 10 days' leave for transgender reassignment surgery after leading delivery platform, Foodpanda, recently implemented the policy.
The call was also made to recognise sexual and gender diversity on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on Tuesday.
"Lessons should be learned from the private sector on securing trans rights in the workplace, especially on their gender transitioning period," said Koko Tiamsai, Foodpanda's diversity and inclusion specialist and the transgender woman who campaigned for the special leave policy at the company.
Foodpanda announced the additional 10-day leave on top of 30 days sick leave, for transgender employees on Feb 23. They call it "transition leave".
"Transgender surgery is not just cosmetic surgery. This surgery is supposed to help transgender employees realise their true identity," she said. It is a major event and change in their lives and, as such, they need time to adjust or even take in some counselling.
She said the leave policy will help show that transgender people are not marginalised and that organisations in this country care about them.
Ms Koko urged the government to endorse transition leave and make it a policy that the public and private sectors should follow.
Post transgender surgery may require further medical or non-medical care but time is required through that journey, she said, adding employers should care and provide substantive equality for them.
"If a small company like our company can actually provide the extra 10 days' leave, what's to stop the government that has more resources doing something better than us?," Ms Koko added.