NSW Parliament has repealed a law that allowed employers to fire or refuse to hire women who knew they were pregnant when applying for a job today.
The reform brings New South Wales in line with other states and territories as well as Commonwealth law.
Senior HR Manager at Employsure Jess Van Der Walt welcomes the change on a significant day:
“Today is a momentous day not only being International Woman’s Day, we are taking the right steps forward with this change for women. We already know that women often face barriers for employment, so it is a relief that the NSW Government has moved to remove these clauses.”
The changes were due according to Ms Van Der Walt, “It is about time. It’s totally unacceptable that a woman could be overlooked for a role or dismissed from a new position once it becomes apparent she is pregnant.”
Women facing sex discrimination in the private sector can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission under the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984. However, the Commonwealth Act does not apply to NSW public sector agencies. These amendments close that loophole and better protect women who are seeking employment, or who are currently employed, in the public sector.
Ms Van Der Walt said the changes are fundamental to the independence of women.
“Fair access to employment is vital for the social and financial independence of women,” she said.
Provide training for your managers on how to recognise discrimination if it takes place within their team, and how to suitably handle a situation to prevent it from reoccurring, “change starts at the top.”
Employers should get informed about their rights and obligations surrounding discrimination and maternity leave entitlements. Employers can access free advice from Employsure on Maternity and Parental Leave.