Employers will no longer be able to fire women who knew they were pregnant, the New South Wales government announced on Sunday.
The loophole allowed employers to fire or refuse to hire women who knew – or ought to have known – they were pregnant at the time they applied for the job.
Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Women Tanya Davies announced the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 would be amended to abolish the loophole.
“It’s unacceptable and out of step with modern standards for a woman to be overlooked for a role because she’s pregnant, or dismissed from a new position once it becomes apparent she’s carrying a child,” Mr Speakman said.
“We understand the need for employers to plan and be prepared for staff who need to take maternity leave, but an agile workplace that accommodates family commitments is likely to attract and retain the brightest talent,” Mr Speakman said.
The move will bring NSW into line with the rest of the country.
Mrs Davies said the NSW Government prides itself on fostering an equal opportunity workplace.
“That’s why we are removing this archaic legal exemption that has discriminated against pregnant women who are seeking employment,” said Mrs Davies.
The government acknowledged NSW Greens spokesperson for women, Mehreen Faruqi, for her advocacy in closing the loophole.
Dr Faruqi, who has been preselected to make a move into the federal senate at the next election, praised the announcement on Sunday.
“We did it,” she wrote on Facebook.
“This is a huge win for our campaign to remove pregnancy discrimination from the law books and for women in NSW who were falling through the cracks because of these absurd exemptions in our anti-discrimination law.”