Industry attitudes to pregnancy under investigation

THE treatment of working women who get pregnant will be investigated as part of a wide-ranging inquiry by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced the inquiry, which will look into sex discrimination against women who have children, at the weekend.

"We know there is a very substantial problem of discrimination against women who are pregnant, become pregnant while they are at work, or on return from leave or whose jobs are - or roles are - restructured in the sense of having less hours," he said.

"We know there are women who are really offered no option, they are told it's full-time or nothing and we know that there is a serious problem also from statistical work that's been done by the Australian Bureau of Statistics."

Mr Dreyfus said Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick would investigate evidence of how women who get pregnant are treated by their employers.

The inquiry will also look at what can be done to help ensure women who have children can remain in the workforce, and assess whether anti-discrimination laws should be strengthened.

Mr Dreyfus said Comm. Broderick would report back to the government in October, with a final report expected mid-2014.