15th May 2024
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Industrial Relations and relates to reproductive health leave. I stood in this place for International Women’s Day in March last year to advocate for reproductive health leave. It was not until over a year later that I received advice that my adjournment was better directed to the Minister for Industrial Relations, so here I stand again asking this government to act on reproductive health leave. Normalising and supporting reproductive leave will contribute to gender equality in the workplace and in society.

Since I raised this matter last year, Queensland has come out and announced new workplace entitlements for Queensland public sector workers, including a nation-leading 10 days of reproductive health leave. This leave can be used for things like fertility and IVF treatment, chronic reproductive health conditions like endometriosis, preventative screening for things like breast and prostate cancers and other reproductive health treatments like hysterectomies and vasectomies. Although ideally, we would like to see a broader approach that includes things like menstruation, abortion and miscarriages, this is still good to see a state government acting on this. Thankfully, they are not alone. The Victorian Women’s Trust has had it in place for years, and private companies like Future Super have limited menstruation and menopause policies that provide employees with extra paid leave or flexible working arrangements.

People are sick of using sick leave, personal leave and leave without pay to deal with reproductive health. Reproductive health leave would assist people enormously and keep them in the workforce longer. No-one should have to use their sick leave for essential bodily functions, so the action I seek is that the minister adopt reproductive health leave as a matter of government public policy.

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