Australia board un­der fire over preg­nancy clause

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MEL­BOURNE: Australia’s Fair Work Om­buds­man is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the na­tional cricket board’s con­tro­ver­sial preg­nancy clause in con­tracts of­fered to elite women play­ers.

Cricket Australia has been un­der fire over the clause which re­quired women to de­clare whether they were preg­nant be­fore sign­ing con­tracts.

The clause said: “The Player war­rants that, to the best of her knowl­edge, she is not preg­nant as at the date of sign­ing this Contract and un­der­takes that upon be­com­ing aware that she is preg­nant, she will no­tify the de­tails of the preg­nancy (in writ­ing, where prac­ti­ca­ble) to the CA med­i­cal of­fi­cer (or such other ap­pro­pri­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tive of CA or other per­son des­ig­nated by CA) as soon as rea­son­ably prac­ti­ca­ble.”

The clause has been slammed by women’s groups as dis­crim­i­na­tory af­ter be­ing brought to light dur­ing pay ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the board and the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion.

CA ini­tially de­fended the clause as be­ing out of con­cern for women’s health and safety.

“Our only in­ter­est in whether one of our women play­ers is preg­nant is to en­sure the health of her and her baby, and we have strict rules around med­i­cal con­fi­den­tial­ity,” CA high per­for­mance chief Pat Howard said in a state­ment this week. “We are very mind­ful that cricket in­volves phys­i­cal risk, and we need to en­sure that our med­i­cal staff and play­ers are aware of ev­ery as­pect that can af­fect a player’s health.”

But CA changed its po­si­tion on Satur­day, an­nounc­ing it would re­view its poli­cies and con­tracts that ap­plied to “preg­nancy, ma­ter­nity leave and carer sup­port” af­ter it was con­tacted by the labour watch­dog on Fri­day.

“We will co-op­er­ate fully with the Om­buds­man, and wel­come their in­quiries be­cause it is al­ways our in­ten­tion to pro­vide the best sup­port for all our play­ers,” CA chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land said in a state­ment.

De­spite the probe, Suther­land blamed the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion for rais­ing the is­sue.

“We are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed that this is­sue has been raised by the ACA (Aus­tralian Crick­eters As­so­ci­a­tion),” he said. “Their se­nior ex­ec­u­tives were fully in­volved in ne­go­ti­at­ing, amend­ing and then agree­ing the contract for women play­ers in the first half of 2015.

“As the ACA has shown no ob­jec­tion to this contract, they should take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their role in de­vel­op­ing the cur­rent pol­icy.”—

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