As of March 1st 2019, lawyers and staff employed by law firm Linklaters can avail of an enhanced private medical insurance scheme including coverage for gender confirmation surgery.
Treatment will be provided by AXA PPP Healthcare, which will pre-authorise the surgery in line with NHS protocols which require the transgender person seeking surgical transition to be under the care of an NHS Gender Identity Clinic. Mental health supports including counselling and speech therapy will also be provided for patients availing of the service.
For Linklaters staff, the new insurance scheme will remove financial barriers to what can be an expensive set of procedures. Sex reassignment surgeries can cost trans individuals anywhere between £10,000 and £100,000 if paid for out-of-pocket, according to support organisation TransUnite.
Linklaters is the first of the “magic circle” law firms – the five most profitable and prestigious London-headquartered multinational law firms – to cover gender confirmation surgery for its employees. Anglo-Australian practice Herbert Smith Freehills became the first law firm to offer this same benefit last year.
Patrick McCann, Global Head of Learning and LGBT+ Committee representative at Linklaters, said in a statement on the firm’s website, “This step reflects the firm’s commitment to being best in class for diversity and inclusion in the legal sector, supporting our people as their employer, whatever their journey may be. The new benefit highlights the value we place on creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels comfortable and that they belong.”
This move forms part of the firm’s ongoing strategy to support its transgender employees. In 2016, Linklaters launched a Transition at Work Toolkit with guidance from external trans-inclusion specialists, containing practical guidance designed to aid transgender staff throughout their transition.
Last year, Linklaters was one of thirteen organisations to be named a launch partner for Stonewall’s newly created Trans Ally Programme, aimed at combatting discrimination against trans and non-binary people around the world.
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