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Paid leave rules 'force women jockeys out'

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The nation is reflecting on Michelle Payne’s history-making turn at the Melbourne Cup, but unions warn women jockeys are being forced from the industry.

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Unions NSW says chauvinistic rules on paid parental leave are excluding female participation, and that Payne’s Cup win should be the catalyst to change rules that stop female jockeys from getting entitlements most other working women enjoy.

Health and safety rules mean women jockeys can’t ride after their first trimester, yet paid parental leave rules require women to have worked at least 10 of the 13 months before they give birth.

“There’s no flexibility on that work test for professions like jockeys,” Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden said today.

When teamed with the ban on riding beyond the first trimester, the rules mean every single woman jockey is denied paid parental leave.

As a result, Maiden argues, many leave the industry, or delay having children.

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