AEU Member Resources

Gender Affirmation Leave

What is it? 

Gender affirmation leave is a newly won Award entitlement available to employees to enable them to be absent from duty to undertake activities associated with the process of affirming their gender. 

Gender affirmation leave is available to an employee who is undergoing a process of affirming their gender.  

Employees may affirm their gender in a number of ways, including through medical, social, and legal changes. An employee is not required to be undergoing specific types of changes, including surgery, to access this leave. 

What is the entitlement for a permanent or fixed-term employee? 

An employee undergoing a process of gender affirmation is entitled to up to 4 weeks paid leave (pro rata for part-time employees) at normal pay and up to 48 weeks unpaid leave. The unpaid leave is regarded as leave without pay for accrual purposes, including for recreation leave and personal leave but does not break an employee’s continuity of service.  

Gender affirmation leave may be taken as consecutive, single or part days, as agreed with the employer. Gender affirmation leave does not accumulate and will not be paid out when employment ceases.  

An employee can access gender affirmation leave from the first day of appointment and can access the entitlement up until 52 weeks after they commence the process of affirming their gender.  

An employee can also access gender affirmation leave at a point in time before they commence the process of affirming their gender or living as a member of that gender provided that the leave is accessed for the activities described below.   

Gender affirmation leave can be used for activities associated with an employee’s gender affirmation including, but not limited to: 

  • Medical or psychological appointments. 
  • Hormonal appointments. 
  • Surgery and associated appointments. 
  • Appointments to alter the Employee’s legal status or amend the Employee’s gender on legal documentation. 

Any other necessary appointment, procedure or event to give effect to the employee’s transition, as agreed with the employer.  

The period of leave accessed by the employee can be longer than the duration of their appointment or procedure, to facilitate travel and recovery.  

What is the entitlement for relief or casual employees? 

Relief / casual employees are entitled to not be available to undertake activities associated with the process of affirming their gender but are not entitled to be paid during this time.  The employer and an employee are to agree on the period the employee is entitled to not be available to attend work.   

The employer cannot refuse to re-engage a relief employee because the employee has accessed gender affirmation leave.  

How do you access it? 

Relief and casual employees need to meet the same notice and evidence requirements as ongoing employees. 

An employee wanting to access gender affirmation leave should discuss their intention to take leave with their manager as soon as reasonably practicable.  

The employee needs to make an application to the employer for gender affirmation leave accompanied by supporting documentary evidence where appropriate. Documentary evidence can include: 

  • Medical certificate from a registered health practitioner or registered professional operating within their scope of practice. 
  • Written referral, issued by a registered health practitioner, to a counsellor. 
  • Document issued by a counsellor. 
  • Legal or other document issued by a state, territory or federal government organisation. 
  • Statutory declaration.  

What do I do if I have a problem accessing my leave? 

If you have difficulties accessing your entitlement, speak to your manager and show them this fact sheet.  If you still have concerns, get in contact with the AEU on 6234 9500 or at support@aeutas.org.au 

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