A legal exemption that entitles employers to refuse to hire pregnant women will be removed next year, the New South Wales Attorney General, Mark Speakman has announced.
The State Government said an amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act will also stop employers from firing women who do not disclose they are pregnant when they are hired.
“It’s unacceptable and out of step with modern standards for a woman to be refused a job or dismissed from a new position because she’s pregnant,” Mr Speakman said.
The Attorney General believes the amendment is a small step towards equal pay for women.
“There is still a gender pay gap between men and women and this will be a step, albeit quite small in fixing that gap,” he said.
The reform brings New South Wales in line with other states and territories as well as Commonwealth law.
Mr Speakman said the changes are vital to the independence of women.
“Fair access to employment is good for our economy and it is vital for the social and financial independence of women,” he said.
“We expect to have legislation in place early next year.”
NSW Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi, who raised the issue with the Minister, praised the Government’s decision.
“I am so proud and so glad,” she said.
“There were so many women who were falling through the cracks that we didn’t even know about who were remaining silent.”
Ms Farqui said she was alerted to the issue six months ago by a woman who had been discriminated against.
“It was high time we did this.
“This has no place in the 21st century, we already know that women face so many barriers for employment so it is really good that the NSW Government has moved to remove these clauses.”