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Pregnant and Productive: It's a right not a privilege to work while pregnant (1999)

Pregnant and Productive:

It's a right not a privilege to work while pregnant (1999)

It is paramount that
all parties to the employment relationship are well informed about their
rights and responsibilities with regards to workplace discrimination.
This message was repeatedly voiced during the national Pregnancy and Work
Inquiry. Pregnant and Productive: It's a right not a privilege to work
while pregnant
presents the findings of this extensive inquiry.

Information provided
to the inquiry indicated that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy
and the inability to obtain paid maternity leave are significant factors
contributing to Australian women and their partners deciding to not have
children or to limit the size of their families.

This report presents
the inquiry's findings and extensive legislative analysis. It also details
existing research that will be useful to specialists, legislators, policy
makers and academics. As the first national inquiry into pregnancy and
potential pregnancy discrimination at work, this report will act as an
authoritative statement about relevant law and practice.

On 26 August 1998,
the federal Attorney-General asked the Commission to conduct an inquiry
into pregnancy and potential pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
The inquiry attracted well over 100 submissions following distribution
of the Pregnancy Inquiry Issues Paper. Wide ranging consultations
and focus groups were also conducted to elicit additional information.
This inquiry is the first national inquiry of its kind.

The relationship
between an employer and employee is one of mutual rights and responsibilities.
A successful working relationship is one where these rights and responsibilities
are respected and implemented by all parties. A number of submissions
and consultations detailed how the new agreement-based workplace relations
system can help facilitate this. There were also concerns expressed about
industrial relations changes contributing to decreased protection afforded
to women workers, particularly with respect to pregnancy.

The inquiry confirmed
that employers and employees are in need of clear practical guidelines
that are educative in nature. Such Guidelines will be produced and distributed
in late 1999. Increased education to ensure compliance with the Sex
Discrimination Act 1984
(Cth) and how the Act interrelates with workplace
relations and occupational health and safety requirements also emerged
as a priority.

The main recommendation
arising from Pregnant and Productive: It's a right not a privilege
to work while pregnant
concern the immediate need for education, guidance
and awareness raising programs around pregnancy and work. Other recommendations
address how this could be done.

Pregnant and Productive:
It's a right not a privilege to work while pregnant

Part I


Terms of reference


Executive summary

Pregnancy Guidelines Recommendations


PDF (70K),

Part A: Introduction
and Context

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The importance of eliminating discrimination

Chapter 3: Statistics and the extent of discrimination

(133K), Word

Part B: The Legislative

Chapter 4: Definitions and grounds of discrimination under the Sex Discrimination

Chapter 5: Areas covered by the Sex Discrimination Act and exemptions

Chapter 6: Types of discriminatory conduct or acts

Chapter 7: Relationship with state and territory laws

Chapter 8: Relationship between anti-discrimination and workplace relations

Chapter 9: Occupational health and safety

(411K), Word

Part C: Specific

Chapter 10: Marginalised workers

Chapter 11: Advertising and recruitment

Chapter 12: Accommodating pregnancy in the workplace

Chapter 13: Grievance and complaints procedures

(354K), Word

Part D: The Future
and Appendices

Chapter 14: Where to from here?

List of submissions

List of consultations and focus groups





(91K), Word

The Commission
has also prepared a Summary of the Government's
Responses to Pregnant and Productive.