Lloyds Banking Group has changed its employee health insurance plans to include private gender reassignment surgery.
They will be the first UK-owned employer to provide this, and confirmed the move saying it was committed to providing “increasing and inclusive support” for employees.
The Group includes Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows.
Bupa will provide the surgery, which will be available to permanent employees subscribed to the Group’s healthcare scheme.
Speaking to PinkNews, Karin Cook, Lloyds Banking Group’s Director of Operations, said: “(Staff will) be able to access healthcare much quicker than they would on any other health provision. They could have a wait of up to 36 months (using another health provision) but through this private provision they will be able to do it an awful lot quicker.
“We want to be inclusive to all colleagues and we felt that our current healthcare provision was excluding certain conditions which were very important to people, particularly in the support for some of the mental health issues that colleagues suffer. So it was essential that we were able to extend that to cover to people with gender dysphoria.”
Kimberley Bird, Head of Group Risk Systems at Lloyds Banking Group and Deputy Co-Chairwoman of the Rainbow Network, added to PinkNews: “I think as an organisation we have shown our visible commitment to the trans community. Personally I am proud to work for an organisation that just wants to be inclusive. Having seen and worked in the trans community for some time now I know that the offering that we’re making is ground-breaking and that, as an organisation, and as an individual, I absolutely welcome this. I do think other organisations will follow quite quickly and it will just change lives – that is what it is about for me.”
Netflix, Facebook and Tesla also offer procedures such as sex-reassignment and hormone therapy, but the schemes have had some criticism.
James Baron, a professor who teaches HR at the Yale School of Management, said: “It becomes a bit of a rat race as to who can out-commit whom with diversity initiatives. Committing to this form of equality allows a company to put another arrow in its quiver without terribly profound cost implications.”