“Women, including pregnant women, make a valuable contribution to the workforce and should not face discrimination at work on the basis of pregnancy,” Dr 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“These exemptions permitted discrimination against pregnant women, were outdated, and the NSW Attorney-General deserves praise for removing them.”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,” Dr Cody said.
“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.”
Speaking to the Australian Associate Press, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said, “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.”
NSW Minister for Women Tanya Davies described the old laws as “outdated,” saying they discriminated against pregnant women who were job hunting.The NSW Government also acknowledged the work of Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi in advocating for the change.
Dr. Mehreen Faruqi MLC and the Greens NSW Spokesperson for the Status of Women, introduced legislation to make this change in September 2017 and then met with Attorney General Mark Speakman and requested the Government to make this change.
On passing of this bill, Dr. Faruqi said: “It’s a moment of pride to see our campaign come to fruition and have NSW finally get rid of these discriminatory laws that protected employers who were unfair to pregnant women.”
“We know we still live in a society where too many people think pregnancy and motherhood are incompatible with work, so this is great news, especially with the International Women’s Day just around the corner.”
“We only made this change because we pushed for it. The fight for social and legal change is far from over, but this is one step in the right direction.”