Discrimination Alive and Kicking: Port Authority denies workers the right to paid parental leave

Mid West Ports Authority confirms that a group of employees will not be provided access to paid parental leave because a third of the workers are female.

Negotiations have come to an impasse with Mid West Ports Authority for office staff over access to paid parental leave for childbirth or adoption.

The Port Authority has rejected the AMOU's claim of 12 weeks' paid parental leave for primary caregivers and one week for secondary caregivers as costs will escalate due to the number of women covered by the agreement.

Workers covered by two other Port Authority agreements already have the paid parental leave entitlement.  AMOU negotiator Meghann Papa says "The Port Authority can afford to be generous with these workers as they are all blokes, but it has a very different approach to the negotiations covering their women workers."

"When the Port Authority was asked if their reluctance to agree to paid parental leave is because of the number of women, senior management responded in the affirmative," she said.

Although women make up less than 21% of the Port Authority's workforce, most of them are in administration and clerical and covered by this set of negotiations.

"Equality of access to important social benefits is a key principle that the AMOU will always stand up for," Meghann Papa added.

"There are workers at the Port Authority who already have the right to paid parental leave, the right to take care of their children without compromising the state of their employment or their finances, and it is fair and right that this should be extended to other employees regardless of their gender," Ms Papa said.

"Paid parental leave is essential for gender equality for working parents and it is appalling that workers are being denied the right to paid parental leave because an enterprise agreement covers women. We are ever hopeful the Port Authority will develop a more enlightened approach to this issue."

5 July 2017

For more information contact:

Mark Davis

Executive Officer

(02) 9264 2388 or 0437 099 886

Meghann Papa

Industrial Officer

(02) 9264 2388 or 0427 068 153