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Question: Reproductive Leave

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Industrial Relations and the Public Sector on the topic of reproductive leave for the public sector.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Reproductive leave is an emerging idea to balance workers' competing demands of work and care within workplace policy. Reproductive leave policies create pathways for workers to take paid time off for menstruation, menopause, fertility treatments, hysterectomies, vasectomies, miscarriages, terminations and gender affirmation.

Women are disproportionately affected by extra caring responsibilities and reproductive health conditions and processes such as endometriosis, PCOS, menstruation and menopause. Research shows that inadequate recognition and support for these reproductive health disparities has been found to contribute to inequality and gender disadvantage at work, with some women reporting reduced wellbeing, reduced economic participation and early withdrawal from the labour market.

Many unions have called for reproductive health policies to be included in enterprise agreements and legislation. In April 2024, the CPSU achieved an in-principle agreement with the Victorian government to grant public sector workers five days of paid reproductive leave. The Queensland government, in May 2024, announced that they will be providing public servants with 10 days of paid reproductive leave. Indeed, it's a hot topic right here in Adelaide at the moment at the ACTU National Congress. My questions to the minister are:

1. Does the minister see the benefits of reproductive leave policies in achieving greater gender equality and work-life balance?

2. Will the minister follow the steps of his Victorian and Queensland counterparts and consider options for implementing reproductive leave for the public sector workers of our state?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I thank the honourable member for her questions. Certainly, I can see the arguments she has put forward and the merits in those arguments. There are a number of public sector enterprise agreements that are currently being negotiated, some this year and some next year, and certainly we will be absolutely happy to consider suggestions like this being put forward as part of that bargaining.

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