Salesforce is offering its transgender staff in Australia and New Zealand four weeks’ paid leave and A$54,400 ($US40,000) to pay for gender affirmation surgeries, prescription drugs and hormonal therapy.
The new transgender employee benefits package also includes a wardrobe allowance of $500 for employees who change their gender and A$1000 to cover the legal costs associated with updating their gender on birth certificates and licences.
The package is “life changing” for Manu Erwin, a solutions engineer for Salesforce in New Zealand who came out as a transgender woman this year.
Before the package was announced, Erwin, who has worked with Salesforce for 14 years, was preparing to save around $NZ65,000 ($62,000) to pay for gender affirmation surgery.
“I had just been to the surgeon and was thinking ‘I have a new savings goal’, so to hear about the benefits package … it’s life changing from a financial perspective,” Erwin said. “The biggest benefit is the fact that it exists at all.”
Previously Salesforce employees in the US and Canada could access paid time off and $US40,000 in financial assistance for their medical costs. The package has been expanded to include the allowances for attire and legal costs and will be offered to all Salesforce employees globally.
Pip Marlow, chief executive of Salesforce’s Australia-New Zealand and ASEAN operations, said the benefit was a demonstration of the company’s values and recognised the different types of support employees needed as part of their transition.
New way of working
“We really want to make sure that employees, regardless of which country they’re in, can access the type of benefits and support that help them live as their authentic self,” Marlow said.
“If you don’t put real money and investment behind your values, you’re not really living them.”
More broadly, the company has altered its employee benefits to cater for a world where employees spend less time in the office.
“We’ve had an incredible employee value proposition and part of that was cool offices with lots of food, cupcakes, free breakfast, and drinks in the office on a Friday. The physical location was central to part of that value proposition,” Marlow said.
“The world shifted, and we all started working from different locations, so our employee value proposition has to change to support a new way of working.”
For example, employees can claim home gym equipment as an expense, a rule that previously only covered gym memberships.
Salesforce also introduced an allowance of A$100 a day to cover 20 days of “emergency back-up childcare” for parents to help ease the pressure of caring responsibilities during lockdown.
Marlow said employees are increasingly deciding which companies to work for based on how well an employer aligns with their values.
“It’s a great time for every organisation in Australia, regardless of industry or sector, to be saying, how can we take the lessons this pandemic has taught us to take better care of our employees?”
This article was first published on AFR here.