Rainbow-inclusive workplaces: PSA helps set the standard

In a world first, Standards New Zealand published NZS 8200:2015 Rainbow-inclusive workplaces: A standard for gender and sexual diversity in employment earlier this year.

just pencilsThe New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and PSA played a crucial role in the standard’s development as part of their commitment to transforming the workplace.

An eight-member standards technical committee was convened in 2014 to develop the standard. Art Daniel, Out@PSA organiser and co-convenor of the CTU Out@Work Network, represented the NZCTU on the committee, while Merv Taueki-Ransom, Out@PSA committee member, represented the PSA. On top of that, one of the key resources used in the development of the standard was the NZCTU’s Gender and sexual diversity at work 2013 – A resource for organisers and delegates prepared by the Out@Work.

“We wanted to make sure we developed a standard that could be used by public, private and non-governmental organisations of all sizes. Having two union representatives on the committee also meant there was a strong commitment to ensuring that workers’ rights were well represented,” says Art.

Merv adds, “We all felt a big responsibility as we knew we were actually ‘setting the standard’ for this important issue.”

An extensive body of international research shows that people from LGBTTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, takatāpui, queer and intersex) communities still face discrimination and exclusion in the workplace, says Michael Stevens who served as chair of the committee and is the programme director of The Rainbow Tick.

“NZS 8200 can be used as a tool to address this issue and create a safe and inclusive workplace for people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity,” he says.

“The standard complements good human resources practice. It can help organisations become better employers, which is good for people from LGBTTQI communities, but it’s also good for improving workplace culture, and increasing productivity and effectiveness.”  
While NZS 8200 is voluntary, organisations can now assess their workplace against the standard’s criteria to find out where they comply and where they may need more work. It also includes helpful guidance to assist organisations in establishing employment practices that are in compliance with the standard.

“Assessing well against the standard can be an important point of difference when hiring staff, annual reporting, or illustrating corporate responsibility,” Michael says.

Standards New Zealand senior manager Carolyn Gay says the consensus building and consultation process proved helpful in developing the standard.

“The committee spent a great deal of time considering what information the standard needed to include, and, just as importantly, how that information was conveyed.”

Art says the standard is one more example of the PSA’s commitment to ensuring people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity are safe and included in their places of work.

“From revising our membership forms so they are inclusive, to having a fully recognised and funded network, to the PSA’s own employment practices, the PSA really ‘walks the talk’ in this area.”

To learn more about or purchase the standard, visit the Standards New Zealand website.

NZCTU’s Gender and sexual diversity at work 2013 – A resource for organisers and delegates prepared by Out@Work.