Countdown introduces policy support for transgender staff

  • News
  • May 8, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Countdown introduces policy support for transgender staff

Countdown has recognised the rights of its transgender staff in a new transgender transitioning policy which aims to support them. The policy makes Countdown’s commitment to providing an inclusive environment clear, and offers practical assistance to team members who are transitioning genders.

The supermarket has around 18,000 team members across 184 supermarkets, distribution centres, processing plants and support offices.

Countdown’s general manager corporate affairs, James Walker, says as one of the largest employers in New Zealand, Countdown is continually reviewing its employment environment. Last year Countdown was one of the first Kiwi employers to launch a family violence policy, alongside The Warehouse Group.

“We think it’s extremely important that we had a proactive and clear policy around our transgender team members because no matter your sex, age, ethnicity or gender identity, or sexual orientation, we want everyone to feel supported when they work at Countdown,” says Walker.

“We’re one of the largest employers in the country, and part of that responsibility is to ensure that we are leading our sector and are a great place to work.  That means having formal support processes in place for our transgender team members when they need it, such as when they wish to be known by their new name, using toilets and changing rooms that match their gender identity, and ensuring they can take time off for medical care relating to transition.”

The policy also includes a support service for those managing transitioning team members.

Walker says a lot of the feedback Countdown had received from managers and teammates involved worrying about using the right language, or not knowing how to approach conversations. Countdown has several coaches with extensive in helping people through the gender transitioning process that can help team leaders with those conversations.

Tracee Nelley, president of Agender NZ, praised Countdown for the new policy.

“Countdown is definitely on the right track with the implementation of this policy and we can only hope that other companies see the importance and follow suit.  We at Agender NZ support Countdown and are happy to be involved with such a forward-thinking company,” says Nelley.

Under the new transgender transitioning policy, Countdown team members are entitled to:

  • Be treated with respect
  • The right to do their job free from harassment or discrimination, regardless of sex, age, ethnicity or gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Transitioning team members are entitled to take leave, using any leave entitlements they currently have, for any medical treatments while transitioning.   Personal medical details do not need to be disclosed.
  • Able to use a bathroom that matches their gender identity, at a time that’s right for them.
  • Able to decide when they wish to be referred to by new pronouns e.g. his/her.
  • Able to adopt a workplace dress code matching their gender identity, at a time that’s right for them.
  • Free access to EAP, Countdown’s employee assistance programme, for nationwide confidential counselling and support.
  • Working with managers to talk with teams.

Transgender people are are protected under the Human Rights Act from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. This protection covers almost all aspects of employment including job advertisements, application forms, interviews and job offers. It also applies to unpaid workers and independent contractors.

In a 2011 document on 'Transgender people at work', the Department of Labour (now MBIE) advised employers not to ask a potential or existing employee if they are trans as in most employment situations, gender identity has no bearing on the employee's ability to perform a job.

For more advice on transgender people and employment, see the Department of Labour PDF provided by Agender here, or a more up-to-date guide on rainbow workplaces is available from Standards New Zealand for a fee.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


What the investment community thinks Kiwi businesses lead on the world stage with

  • News
  • July 16, 2019
  • Idealog
What the investment community thinks Kiwi businesses lead on the world stage with

Every business goes through a life cycle: start-up, growth, maturity and renewal, rebirth or decline. Once you’ve made it past the juicy, creative ideation stage and into the growth and maturity stage, the time for many comes to seek investment. But what do investors look for beyond a commercial return? And what do investors think New Zealand companies excel at when compared to our neighbouring countries around the world? Executive director of the Angel Association of New Zealand Suse Reynolds shares her top tips for those who are looking for investment.

Read more

Foodstuffs’ Baden Ngan Kee has passed away

  • Who's Where
  • July 16, 2019
  • The Register team
Foodstuffs’ Baden Ngan Kee has passed away

Foodstuffs has announced that its former executive Baden Ngan Kee has passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

Read more

2 Cheap Cars fined $438,000 under the Fair Trading Act

  • News
  • July 14, 2019
  • The Register team
2 Cheap Cars fined $438,000 under the Fair Trading Act

Used car dealer 2 Cheap Cars has been fined $438,000 for its use of “warranty waiver” documents and marketing statements described as “deliberately misleading”.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Retail's new best friend

  • In association with the IHA Global Innovation Awards (GIA)
  • July 13, 2019
  • Anne Kong
Retail's new best friend

As the heart and soul of retailing further evolves, stores and the essence of shopping will continue to morph in unimaginable ways. However, amidst the storm of change, there is one aspect of shopping that remains pure, constant and motivational – the aspirational moment. Anne Kong, member of the GIA expert jury, shares her thoughts.

Read more

Bendon looks to sell brands after financing falters

  • News
  • July 12, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Bendon looks to sell brands after financing falters

Bendon lingerie is looking to sell some of its brands as the future of the company becomes more uncertain.

Read more

Smirnoff Pure helps Kiwis discover local artists with Spotify partnership

  • News
  • July 11, 2019
  • Caitlin Salter
Smirnoff Pure helps Kiwis discover local artists with Spotify partnership

The music we love is made up of many influences, including where we live. In its latest campaign, Smirnoff Pure and YoungShand tapped into the unique vibes of New Zealand and set out to help Kiwis discover the music that moves the cities and suburbs they call home.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit