Sunday 21 April 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

How To Combat Sexual Harassment

How To Combat Sexual Harassment

A new policy direction will work to rid workplaces of this scourge

All NSW public sector agencies were given a 1 March 2024 deadline to ensure their workplace sexual harassment policies were compliant with the model Sexual Harassment Policy published in 2023 by the Public Service Commission.

A Commissioner Direction was issued at the time requiring that each agency develop its own policy that draws on the sector-wide policy and has provisions that are above the minimum standards set out in the direction. If your agency does not have an updated policy, you can inform the PSA.

The figures still make grim reading. In the past 12 months, almost one in five Australian workers reported experiencing sexual harassment at work.

Safework NSW has launched a new four- year strategy to help workplaces prevent sexual harassment as a WHS issue. The strategy has been developed by the Respect at Work directorate which was formed in response to the Australian Human Rights Commission 2020 Respect@Work report on the high rates of sexual harassment across the nation’s workplaces.

The report called for a need to raise awareness that sexual harassment is a WHS issue, and for a shift from the current reactive model to a proactive approach where employers must take actions to prevent sexual harassment before it occurs.

The www.nsw.gov.au/respect-at-work website has resources and advice to help create safer, more respectful workplace.

“The PSA CPSU NSW welcomes the development of this strategy and recommends workplaces take steps to ensure they provide a safe working environment for their employees that is free from sexual harassment,” said the union’s Women’s Officer Simone Scalmer.

“We have been calling for a new approach for some time as reflected in the Workplace Sexual Harassment Charter developed by the Women’s Council.

“If you have concerns relating to sexual harassment you should familiarise yourself with the reporting options for NSW workers as well as contact your union who can provide you with advice and support and help you navigate these options.”

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