HSUWA contributes to Australian Human rights Commission inquiry

Wednesday 11 Dec 2013

In June of this year, the Australian Human Rights Commission was asked by the Attorney General's Department to conduct a national review on the prevalence, nature and consequences of discrimination in relation to pregnancy at work and return to work after parental leave. 

The objectives of the review are:

  • to provide national benchmark data and analysis on the prevalence, nature and consequences of discrimination at work related to pregnancy and during, or on return to work after parental leave
  • to engage stakeholders including government, industry and employer groups, unions and employees to understand perspectives and experiences
  • to identify leading practices and strategies for employers supporting pregnant employees and men and women returning from parental leave
  • to provide recommendations for future actions to address the forms of discrimination identified through the project

Discrimination on the basis of parental status or pregnancy is unlawful and yet there are still stories of employees being demoted or sidelined during or following parental leave.  All too commonly, new parents find it difficult to return to work and are at risk of leaving their jobs rather than dealing with arrangements that make it difficult to care for their kids.  This inquiry is a key opportunity to contribute to the issue and potentially influence the shaping of future discrimination legislation in this country. 

Senior Industrial Officer, Corinne Drew, and Organiser, Melissa Wagner, attended the consultation sessions on behalf of the HSUWA.  They were joined by a multitude of other unions at UnionsWA headquarters in a lively session that covered a plethora of issues, ideas and solutions.  While it was saddening to hear some of the difficulties and frustrations union members experience, the session also generated plenty of useful input to the Inquiry.  A number of members attended to share their stories and experiences of discrimination and challenges for parents in the workplace.

The inquiry is due to be completed in June 2014 but you can read more about this work or make your own submission on the AHRC's site http://www.humanrights.gov.au/pregnancy-discrimination


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