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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4775

Mr Lynch asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration, upon notice:

(1)   What action has he taken pursuant to the Government's commitment to extend maternity leave to the private sector.

(2)   Has the matter been examined by a committee of inquiry.

(3)   If so, will he table the findings of the inquiry.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I assume the honourable member has in mind the extension to the private sector of maternity leave in accordance with the requirements of the ILO Convention (No. 103) concerning Maternity Protection. This was the basis on which the benefit was granted to female officers and employees of the Australian Government by the Maternity Leave (Australian Government Employees) Act 1973. The honourable member will recall that during my second reading speech on that legislation I said that if a flow-on of the provisions of the Act to private employers were sought by way of award variation in the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, which would place the obligation on individual employers, the Government would be prepared to intervene and officially oppose it. This is because of the ILO Convention requirement that 'in no case, shall the employer be individually liable for the cost of such benefits due to women employed by him.' It is clear that extension to the private sector requires very detailed examination particularly as to costing; up to the present the whole matter has received only very preliminary consideration. I would also refer the honourable member to my answer to his recent question (No. 1374) on ILO Convention No. 103.

(2)   No.

(3)   See answer to (2).

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