Failure to act on Respect@Work Report

The Coalition Government has continued to ignore key recommendations of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner in her landmark Respect@Work report which would make work safer for women. The Respect@Work Report recommended better integration and alignment of the anti-discrimination, workplace and workplace health and safety systems and a proactive, preventative approach to sexual harassment.

The Coalition’s Sexual Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 is due to be debated this week. It places the burden on individual women who have experienced sexual harassment to enter complex and lengthy complaints processes at their own cost and risk.

The Coalition Government has failed to act on several critical recommendations in the Respect@Work Report including:

  • Amending the Sex Discrimination Act to include a positive duty on employers to take reasonable measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation, supported by appropriate enforcement and inquiry powers.
  • Amending the Fair Work Act to expressly prohibit sexual harassment and introduce a new quick and easy complaints process.
The Coalition’s Bill also provides an important opportunity to include at least 10 days paid of family domestic violence leave in the Fair Work Act, to support women escaping violent relationships. The introduction of 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave is critical to protecting working women to escape an abusive relationship without fearing loss of employment and critical income.

Professionals Australia continues to call on the Coalition Government to amend its Bill and adopt critical recommendations in the landmark Respect@Work Report and to include at least 10 days of paid domestic violence leave in the Fair Work Act.