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Government condemned for pregnant pause

ACTU Media Release, 14 May 2000

On Mothers Day 2000 ACTU President Sharan Burrow has called on the Howard Government to make good its promise to strengthen laws prohibiting workplace discrimination against expectant mothers.

Mothers Day is a time to celebrate mums. To recognise the fundamental role they play in our community and the joy and love that they bring to our lives, said Ms Burrow.

But it is also a time to reflect on the sad fact that far too many mothers and expectant women are subject to unacceptable workplace discrimination. We, as a community, have a responsibility to do everything we can to stamp this out.

That is why this Mothers Day we are calling on the Federal Government to make good its promise to legislate to help protect the rights of pregnant women against workplace discrimination.

The ACTU call follows months of delay by the Government in implementing the recommendations of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Report into pregnancy at work, Pregnant and Productive.

The HREOC Report, received by the Government in August 1999, details widespread and systematic workplace discrimination against pregnant women and recommends key legislative changes including:

Ms Burrow said that the Government's failure to respond to the HREOC recommendations was negligent and destructive.

Every day many expectant mothers are the victims of discrimination at work. They suffer withdrawn offers of promotion, transfers, refusals to provide safe and comfortable working conditions and even dismissal.

Not only has the Government failed to act on this issue, it has also impeded the passage of legislation supported by Labor and the Democrats to implement the HREOC recommendations, said Ms Burrow

Its high time the Howard Government fulfilled its responsibilities and strengthened legislation to protect pregnant women from discrimination.


As part of its campaign to assist expectant mothers ACTU has launched a Pregnancy at Work Hotline.

The Hotline will provide women with anonymous information, advice and support regarding pregnancy discrimination and will help gather information about the extent of this serious problem.

ACTU is encouraging women who have suffered discrimination to call the Hotline on 1300 362 223 9 - 5, Monday - Friday before May 31, 2000.

Media inquiries: George Wright 0419 556 616

For further information

Contact: George Wright
Address: 54 Victoria Street
Carlton South VIC 3053
Work: +61 (03) 9663 5266
Fax: +61 (03) 9663 8220
Email: media@actu.asn.au
WWW: http://www.actu.asn.au/national/media/