Do I need to reveal at my job interview that I am pregnant?
No, the Act prohibits an employer refusing employment because a job applicant is pregnant.
A job applicant should be made aware of the requirements of the job. All job applicants should be asked about any medical or physical conditions that might prevent carrying out the work satisfactorily.
If the job involves exposure to chemicals or hazardous substances known to have adverse effects on pregnant women the Act allows an employer to point this out either on the application form or during the interview.
In these circumstances it would be wise for a pregnant applicant to make the employer aware of her pregnancy.
Overseas case law suggests that it is unlawful for an employer to decide in advance not to employ women of child-bearing age because of a hazardous working environment. The job applicant should be informed of the risks and be free to decide whether to accept any offer of employment that might be made.
However, if an employer becomes aware of an employee’s pregnancy, the requirement under health and safety legislation to protect all employees’ health may, if hazardous work is involved, mean the employee will temporarily have to be transferred to a different job.
see also » Paid parental leave
Can I ask an employer what arrangements can be made for me to breastfeed my baby at work?
Yes. Recognising that many women now return to work earlier after having children good employers do their best to provide them with the privacy and the facilities required for breastfeeding. However, New Zealand has not ratified the International Labour Organisation Convention which outlines the minimum standards for breastfeeding breaks and facilities at work. Proposed new infant feeding legislation requires employers to provide unpaid time and facilities foir breastfeeding employees.
The Human Rights Commission considers that the right to breastfeed at work and in public life is part of the right to be free from discrimination on the grounds of sex under the Human Rights Act. The Employment Relations Act also contains anti-discrimination provisions which apply to breastfeeding women. However, breastfeeding is not identified in the anti-discrimination legislation whereas “sex, which includes pregnancy and childbirth” is. Your Rights as a Breastfeeding Mother is available at: http://www.neon.org.nz/documents/breastfeedingflyerEnglish.doc
The Department of Labour has produced Breastfeeding in the Workplace: an employer’s guide to making it work which is available at www.ers.dol.govt.nz