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Laws to protect pregnant job seekers pass parliament

Publication date: Wednesday, 7 March 2018

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The NSW Parliament has repealed a law that allowed employers to fire or refuse to hire women who knew they were pregnant when applying for a job today. 

Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Women Tanya Davies welcomed the passage of the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, which removes the relevant sub-sections from the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

“In this day and age, it’s unacceptable that a woman could be overlooked for a role or dismissed from a new position once it becomes apparent that she is pregnant,” Mr Speakman said. 

“These amendments will ensure fair access to employment, which is good for the NSW economy and vital to ensuring gender equality.” 

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. 

Mrs Davies said that the NSW Government prides itself on supporting women and promoting equal opportunity in the workplace.

“We have repealed this outdated law, which has discriminated against pregnant women who are job hunting, to ensure the best outcome for working women,” Mrs Davies said.

This reform brings NSW into line with the other states and territories and the Commonwealth. The NSW Government acknowledges the advocacy of Dr Mehreen Faruqi in this area.