UPDATE WEDNESDAY: From the Contra Costa Times:
A plan before the City Council to set aside $20,000 a year for city employees who want to have a sex change operation was tabled until February so wording of the proposed policy can be refined.
The move at Tuesday night's council meeting comes three and a half years after the City Council asked city staff to study the idea and return with a plan in six months. That was in May of 2007.
After discovering that it would be too expensive to include the surgery in its Kaiser or Health Net plans, the city decided to cover it out of its own pocket, wagering that not many employees will want sex change surgery.
City Councilman Kriss Worthington, who supports the plan, said the operations can cost between $7,000 and $60,000. Full article
The Berkeley City Council is set to vote on providing a benefit for gender-reassignment surgery. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., and the issue is No. 6 on the agenda.
From today's San Francisco Chronicle:
The City Council is poised to vote tonight to set aside $20,000 annually for city workers' gender-reassignment surgery. The procedure is not covered by the city's two health insurance providers, Kaiser and Health Net.
"We offer all kinds of benefits to our employees. This brings our benefits in line with what's just and fair for the transgender community," said City Councilman Darryl Moore, who originally proposed the idea in 2007.
The benefit would allow employees to collect the money before the operation. To receive the payout, employees would have to have lived as the opposite sex for at least one year and undergone hormone therapy. They also would have to have worked for the city at least a year.
The city would dole out the $20,000 on a first-come, first-served basis. The money would not accrue from year to year; it would stay indefinitely at $20,000.
The amount should cover at least part of the surgery costs, which range from $7,000 to more than $50,000, according to surgery and transgender information websites.
Here's an extract from the recommendation from City Manager Phil Kamlarz:
Adopt a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to implement a Sex Reassignment Surgery Policy and establishing a fund in the amount of $20,000 each fiscal year to reimburse eligible employees for a portion of the costs associated with Sex
Reassignment Surgery (SRS).
FISCAL IMPACTS OF RECOMMENDATION
The City will have to ensure that $20,000 is available in the SRS fund at the beginning of each fiscal year. Unexpended funds at the end of each fiscal year will not carry over from year to year.