Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review

Date: 
Monday 21 October 2013

Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review

News 7 April 2014

Headline Prevalence Data released
 
The Commission has released a Headline Prevalence Data report from a National Telephone Survey measuring discrimination in the workplace related to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work following parental leave. 
 

News 21 February 2014

The National Review submissions process is now closed.

 

Overview

On 22 June 2013, the Attorney-General’s Department asked the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission 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 significant number of complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Fair Work Australia indicate that discrimination against pregnant employees and against men and women returning to work after taking parental leave continues to be a problem in Australian workplaces.

The National Review will involve collection of quantitative and qualitative data to assess the prevalence, nature and consequences of discrimination at work related to pregnancy and during, or on return to work after parental leave. It will also seek to understand the challenges faced by employers in accommodating the needs of pregnant employees and women and men returning to work after parental leave, as well as identify leading practices and strategies for addressing these challenges. This will be done through:

  • a national telephone survey on the prevalence of discrimination;
  • consultations through online written submissions, group discussions and interviews;
  • a national roundtable with relevant stakeholders to discuss the findings of the survey and recommendations; and
  • desktop research.

The purpose of the national telephone survey is to collect prevalence data. In contrast, consultations aim to gather qualitative data on the nature and consequences of discrimination faced by men and women affected and the challenges and leading strategies of employers.

The National Review will also involve analysis of the adequacy of existing laws and policies.

Further details on the methodology and timeframe can be found on the National Review Factsheet.

The Commission will prepare a report on the national review, including recommendations, by June 2014.

Aims of the National Review 

The objectives of this National Review project include:

  • 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 workers to understand perspectives and experiences, and consider the prevalence data and its implications;
  • To identify leading practices and strategies for employers supporting pregnant employees and men and women returning from parental leave; and
  • To provide recommendations for future actions to address the forms of discrimination identified through the project.

A Reference Group consisting of 7 members representing business, community groups, unions and academics has been established to provide counsel on the research methodology, analysis of the findings and the final report and recommendations. For further details on the Reference Group click here.

To read the terms of reference for the National Review, please click here.

Consultations and submission process

In conducting the National Review, the Commission has consulted widely with relevant stakeholders, including women and men who have experienced discrimination at work while pregnant, or on return to work after taking parental leave, government, industry and business peaks, employers, and organisations working with affected women and men. Please click here for an Issues Paper that provides background information on some of the matters being considered by the National Review.
 
Consultations were held in every capital city in each state and territory and some regional centres in late 2013. 
 
The National Review submissions process is now closed. To view public submissions received, please click here.
 

Contact Details 

If you have any queries or would like to contact the National Review team please email: pregnancyandwork@humanrights.gov.au

Make a complaint

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (the SDA) makes it against the law to treat a person unfairly because of their sex, family responsibilities or because they are pregnant. The SDA can also provide some protections to people wanting to return to work after parental leave. If you would like more information about what might be covered by the SDA or you would like to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, you can contact our Complaint Information Service on:

Complaint Info Line: 1300 656 419
Email: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au
Fax: 02 9284 9611
TTY: 1800 620 241
NRS: 133 677
If you need an interpreter you can call 131 450 and ask to be connect to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
To make a complaint online click here.
More information is also available at the Complaints Section of this website.