Lloyds Banking Group are the first UK company to offer its staff gender reassignment surgery, as part of its existing Bupa healthcare packages. Reuters

Lloyds Bank is to offer its staff gender reassignment surgery through existing private healthcare plans on Bupa, it was announced today, 7 May. Lloyds Banking Group is to become the first British company to offer the surgery to its employees, after it estimated that around 830 staff members, out of 880,000 based in Britain, did not conform to "gender binaries".

The group – which also includes Halifax Bank, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows in its umbrella company – has stated that it expects around 20 transgender staff to use the services, who account for 0.025% of the group's workforce.

The firm's policy is provided by private company Bupa Healthcare, and was announced to staff on Thursday, 5 May. It is thought that the service will offer surgery and treatment quicker and more effectively than applying through the NHS.

Karin Cook, director of operations at Lloyds Banking Group, said the company wanted to be "inclusive to all colleagues", and seeks to attract high-calibre graduates who also belong to the LGBT community. "We felt that our current healthcare provision was excluding certain conditions," said Cook, according to Pink News. "So it was essential that we were able to extend that to cover people with gender dysphoria".

"This will help a number of colleagues and their families, but also promote our brand as an inclusive employer," she added.

Lloyds have been praised by LGBT charity Stonewall for its initiative, which stands as the first company of UK origin to offer such services. Gender reassignment surgery had previously been offered by one other employer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as a standard healthcare benefit to staff members based in the UK.

Kimberley Bird, a senior executive with Lloyds who had previously undergone reassignment surgery, said: "We have shown our visible commitment to the trans community. Having seen and worked in the trans community for some time now I know that the offering that we're making is ground breaking and… I absolutely welcome this."

The announcement comes in contrast to the so-called toilet law – or House Bill 2 – in North Carolina, US, which bans transgender people from using public conveniences that correspond with their gender identity. So far, the federal law has been met by opposition by companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google, all of whom have offices based in the US state.