Mercer offers Trans healthcare benefits in employee medical schemes

19 October 2018 3 min. read

Global consulting firm Mercer has announced that it will offers Trans employees benefits for treatment of gender dysphoria, as part of its private medical scheme. The move sees the firm look to support Trans employees amid a public discourse which is often hostile to their rights as individuals, or as a community.

After a long and arduous battle for the recognition of its rights, the LGBT+ community of the UK is considered to live in a country at the forefront of civil rights. The UK is broadly thought to be an LGBT+ friendly nation, as part of the 25 states which allow for marriage equality at time of writing, however, pockets of resistance still linger well into the 21st century. Notably in Northern Ireland, special provisions mean gay marriage is still not legally recognised, while across the UK as a whole, the Trans community still faces notable prejudices, even within the LGBT+ movement itself.

Recent examples of this have included the weaponising of the case of Karen White – who sexually assaulted fellow prisoners at a female jail – to attack the integrity of the Trans community as a whole, as well as events which transpired at the 2018 London Pride Parade – when the famous march was “hijacked” by anti-trans campaigners who forced their way to the front of the march. In this increasingly hostile environment for the advancement of Trans rights, leadership from the political and business communities can help push the debate forward.

Mercer offers Trans healthcare benefits in employee medical schemes

To that end, one of the world’s largest investment consultancies has announced that it will now offer Trans benefits for the treatment of Gender Dysphoria as part of its UK employee private medical scheme. Gender Dysphoria is defined as a medical condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress due to a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. Mercer’s benefit will include comprehensive cover for Gender Dysphoria. These will feature consultations and diagnosis, as well as mental health and surgical treatment.

Dr Siobhan Martin, Mercer’s UK HR Director, said of the policy, “Being a diverse and inclusive company is a key part of Mercer’s identity, and we are pleased to be one of the first companies in the UK to have Trans healthcare benefits in place to support those employees who need it… At Mercer we know that people can only thrive at work when we can be our authentic selves.”

The move comes as the consulting industry as a whole looks to accommodate the needs of a diversifying workforce. Research indicates that employees who feel unsupported or who cannot be themselves at work are more likely to suffer stress and anxiety, which can lead to mental health issues. On an ethical level, and a business level, it therefore makes sense for firms to place an added level of emphasis on the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff. Among other examples, recently this saw Grant Thornton commit to the “Time to change” pledge to end mental health discrimination in the workplace, while a number of consulting firms are also featured in the UK Government’s social mobility drive.