Workers would get 'reproductive leave' under plan to address gender inequality


The Victorian Greens have unveiled a ground-breaking plan to introduce five days of ‘reproductive health and wellbeing’ leave for public sector employees in Victoria.

The scheme would grant the additional leave to employees who access reproductive health services or experience reproductive health conditions such as:

  • Miscarriages.
  • Terminations, hysterectomies, and vasectomies.
  • Menopause symptoms.
  • Endometriosis treatments.
  • Insertion of long-acting reversible contraception (IUD and Implanon).
  • IVF and sperm and egg donation.
  • Hormone injections or replacements. 
  • Social and medical gender transitioning therapies, including sex and gender hormone therapy and reassignment surgery.

An independent Parliamentary Budget Office costing obtained by the Greens found the policy would cost only $34.1 million dollars over the forward estimates.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the gender pay gap in Victoria remained unacceptable.

Unfortunately the 1.5 per cent wage cap imposed by the Victorian Labor Government on the public sector at the beginning of this year meant public sector workers had real wages cuts. 

The workers hit hardest by these cuts were the lowest paid workers, who are predominantly women.

Ms Ratnam said recognising reproductive leave would help keep women in the workforce and address the gender pay gap.

The plan forms part of the Greens’ gender equality policy package for the upcoming state election.

The package also includes a boost for maternity health including a plan to reopen birth centres connected to major hospitals, more publicly funded homebirth programs in hospitals, and more funding for continuity of care programs in hospitals.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC: 

“For too many women and gender diverse people, discrimination in the workplace is commonplace.

“They are discriminated against with lower wages and workplaces not suited to their needs. They also struggle to get their healthcare needs met.

“For many women and gender diverse people, reproductive issues can significantly impact their working lives, forcing them to take paid and even unpaid leave to manage a range of issues. It shouldn’t have to be this way. 

“Recognising reproductive leave will help keep women in the workforce, and address the gender pay gap.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read: 

“All Victorians should be able to access safe and affordable healthcare without it impacting the income they rely on. 

“Yet for many in the community – particularly women and gender diverse people – this sadly isn’t the case.

“The plan we’re launching today recognises the importance of reproductive health services and getting reproductive health conditions treated, and ensures workers will be able to access them more easily.”