Media Release: Pregnancy Discrimination Widespread in WA Workplaces

UnionsWA today commented on the Perth presentation by Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, on the National Review into Pregnancy and Return to Work.

The report found that one in every two Australian women face pregnancy discrimination at work.  32% of mothers who experienced discrimination due to pregnancy either sought other work or resigned and 18% where dismissed, made redundant or had their jobs restructured during pregnancy.

Additionally 27% of fathers experienced discrimination related to parental leave and return to work.

“Discrimination in relation to pregnancy and returning to work from parental leave remains widespread in workplaces” said UnionsWA Secretary Meredith Hammat.

“Workers are increasingly raising concerns about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, whether it’s losing permanency after returning from maternity leave or employers refusing requests to work flexible working hours. Enough is enough.

“This report is disturbing reading for working people in Australia and it highlights the growing need to strengthen workplace laws to stop discrimination at work.” Ms Hammat said.

The report presents a range of recommendations to Government and employers, including:

 *   Employees having the right to request flexible working arrangements;
 *   Reforming organisational cultures that give rise to harmful stereotypes, practices and behaviours about pregnant women and working parents; and
 *   Strengthening the Sex Discrimination Act to provide stronger protection for individuals with family responsibilities.

UnionsWA supports all the recommendations put forward in the report and calls upon the Government and employers to act immediately.

“Workers should have the right to request flexible working arrangements after pregnancy and when returning to work

“This would go a long way to help reduce the pressures of balancing work and family life.  It will also improve productivity in workplaces”.

“It is clear that discrimination against parents is putting significant strain upon working people and must be addressed. The Government must act to end the shocking discrimination the Human Rights Commission review has laid bare.”

A copy of the report can be found here:

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/supporting-working-parents-pregnancy-and-return-work-national-review-report


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