New laws protect pregnant women

The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, which passed through NSW Parliament this week, introduces welcome employment protections for pregnant women, according to Kingsford Legal Centre Director Anna Cody.

“Women, including pregnant women, make a valuable contribution to the workforce and should not face discrimination at work on the basis of pregnancy,” Ms Cody said.

“The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) contained exemptions that allowed employers to not hire or dismiss women if they were pregnant at the time they applied, interviewed or were hired for a job.

“These exemptions permitted discrimination against pregnant women, were outdated, and the NSW Attorney General deserves praise for removing them.

“These amendments are a positive step to meet our obligations under international human rights law to promote equality and non-discrimination, bringing NSW anti-discrimination law in line with the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and laws in other states and territories.

“Sadly, pregnancy and family responsibilities discrimination remains prevalent in Australia, with one in two mothers experiencing discrimination at work during pregnancy, parental leave or return to work.

“Community legal centres provide valuable assistance to people and communities across NSW at times when they need it most. This is particularly true when people are facing economic hardship or discrimination,” Ms Cody said.

Media contact: Anna Cody, 0431 636 594

More information: Australian Human Rights Commission, Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review (2014) available at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/supporting-working-parents-pregnancy-and-return-work .