The Victorian Greens have announced plans to push for five days of leave for “reproductive health and wellbeing” ahead of next month’s state election.
The plan, released Saturday morning, would include workers who want access to gender transition therapy, including sex-reassignment surgery, as well as people who want access to long-term contraception, such as IUDs and Implanon.
Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said the $34.1 million plan would keep women in the workplace and close the gender pay gap.
“For too many women and people of different genders, discrimination in the workplace is commonplace,” Ms Ratnam said.
The plans, which will only apply to public sector workers, also cover miscarriages, injections and hormone replacement, endometriosis treatment, IVF, and sperm and egg donation, among others.
Ms Ratnam said the government’s 1.5 per cent wage cap in the public sector this year meant workers had experienced a cut in real wages.
She said lower-wage workers, mostly women, were hit hardest by the decision.
The plan is part of the Greens’ broader gender equality policy in the next election, which includes birthing centers linked to major hospitals, more publicly funded home birth programs in hospitals and continuity of care programs in hospitals.
Ms Ratnam said reproductive issues for women and gender-diverse people could “significantly affect their working lives”.
“They are discriminated against because of lower wages and jobs that do not suit their needs. They also struggle to meet their healthcare needs,” Ms Ratnam said.
Victorian Greens health spokesman and Member for Brunswick Dr Tim Reid said women and transgender people in particular were not being able to access health care without it affecting their incomes.
“The plan we are launching today recognizes the importance of reproductive health and care services and ensures that workers can access them more easily,” Mr Reid said.
The policy announcements come after a tumultuous week for federal colleagues from the Victorian Greens.
Greens leader Adam Bendt demoted senator Lydia Thorpe from the party leadership on Thursday after it emerged she hid her relationship with former motorcyclist Dean Martin, the uncle of Richmond superstar Dustin Martin, while she served on the parliamentary law enforcement committee, which received undercover police organized crime briefings.
The Victorian Greens are eyeing the lower house seats of Richmond, Northcote and possibly Albert Park at next month’s election.
Saturday’s announcement followed a series of pre-election commitments that included the plans legalize cannabisbuild 100,000 public housing units over the next decade and multibillion-dollar cyclists “superhighway” connecting different parts of Melbourne.