The Respect@Work report was tabled in Parliament on 5 March 2020 and was welcomed by Minister for Women Marise Payne and Attorney General Christian Porter. As at 12 October 2020, the report is with the Attorney General’s Department and we are waiting on the Government’s response. The report noted that the annual cost of workplace sexual harassment to the Australian economy was $3.8 billion.
Key recommendations of the report were:
- an emphasis on data and research;
- a primary focus on prevention;
- a new legal and regulatory framework;
- better workplace prevention and response; and
- better support, advice and advocacy.
The report also recommended that the Fair Work Act should be amended to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment using the definition in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the need to ensure that sexual harassment is recognised as a workplace health and safety issue (as a psychosocial/mental health issue). The ACTU is currently developing guidance on sexual harassment as a workplace health and safety issue, a model code on psychological health and safety and guidance on workplace violence.
As part of its Women’s Economic Statement, the Morrison Government allocated $240.4 million for implementation of the recommendations.