The ACTU have set up a confidential hotline to assist women who experience discrimination in the workplace including being fired, demoted, forced into insecure jobs and having their role changed without consultation.
My own experiences with discrimination were part of my motivation to found United Mothers and I am delighted that the ACTU has launched this hotline, which is available to *all mums*, not just union members.
ACTU president Ged Kearney launched the hotline last week. She said, “Many women feel alone and unsure about how to respond when the culture in their workforce is one that tolerates discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy. We know this culture is so strong that many women quit just to avoid the expected outcome.”
“This hotline will give women advice about their rights and the steps they can take to protect themselves, report the discrimination and try to get a fair go. Bias of any kind is abhorrent but when it’s against 50 per cent of the population and for something like child birth then we need to send a strong message.”
“We are disappointed but not surprised at evidence to the Federal Government's review of the paid parental leave scheme showing women workers being sacked to avoid eligibility for paid. Unions also know that workplaces are making it harder for workers with caring responsibilities when they refuse requests for more balanced work arrangements.”
This comes as statistics show about 67,000 women had experienced some form of discrimination stemming from their pregnancy.
Ms Kearney said women who face unfair and discriminatory treatment in the workforce because of their pregnancy should quickly follow these four steps:
1. Talk to your co-workers. You’re probably not alone;
2. Call your union if you are a member;
3. Keep a dairy on every conversation;
4. Correspond with your employer in writing;
5. Call the Pregnancy Discrimination Hotline on 1300 364 024 to find out your rights because discrimination is illegal.
• One-in-three women in Australia with a child under two say they left the workforce permanently while pregnant or after having a child.
• One-in-10 received inappropriate or negative (discriminatory) comments from their manager or supervisor.
• One-in-15 missed out on an opportunity for promotion, training or development opportunities.
Pregnancy Discrimination Hotline: 1300 364 024