Supermarket giant Countdown has announced that any team member who is affirming their gender will receive an additional two weeks paid leave to support them as they do this.

The change to Countdown’s Gender Diverse and Gender Affirmation Policy means that team members can take up to two weeks paid and two weeks unpaid leave as they take the necessary steps to affirm their gender. 

Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH Pooja Subramanian says the allocation of an additional two weeks of paid leave is a great example of the things employers can do to create inclusive and supportive workplaces. 


The Counting Ourselves Study (2019) showed us that 57 per cent of trans and non-binary people surveyed didn’t disclose their gender identity at work due to fear of discrimination. We’re stoked to see companies such as Countdown recognise the barriers our communities face with transitioning at work and take the necessary steps to ensure trans and non-binary employees feel supported by their employer.

“We hope to see more companies take similar steps to work towards a future where trans and non-binary people can thrive in their workplace,” Pooja says. 

Countdown’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability says updating the policy with this additional paid leave entitlement is another way the business can continue to support its team.

“We were one of the first employers in Aotearoa to launch a Gender Affirmation Policy (previously called the Transgender Transitioning Policy) back in 2017, that would support our team who are taking steps to affirm their gender.  It’s been a critical part of opening up conversations about gender diversity and gender affirmation in our business, and I’m really pleased to now be taking this next important step,” says Kiri Hannifin.

“Gender affirmation can be difficult and complex, often involving medical appointments, surgical procedures and mental health impacts. By providing two weeks of paid leave, we can give our team the ability to look after themselves without having to worry about missing work and the pressures that can come with that.

“We’re proud to be a business that looks to develop and implement policies that make Countdown a place where our team feel free to bring their whole self to work and be who they are, where they feel safe and where they feel supported,” Kiri says.

You can pick up physical copies of express magazine in the following Countdown stores, from one of our handy stands:

Auckland – Countdown Quay Street, Countdown Grey Lynn, Countdown Ponsonby and Countdown Williamson Avenue.

Wellington – Countdown Cable Car Lane, Countdown Kilbirnie and Countdown Newton.

Christchurch – Countdown Columbo Street, Countdown Moorehouse Avenue and Countdown Ferrymead.

Queenstown – Countdown Queenstown.