Treaties Committee Backs Ratification of Convention on Work Harassment

Parliament of Australia

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has recommended ratification of the International Law Organization Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work (No 190).

The Convention is the first international instrument that commits International Labour Organization (ILO) Members to respect, promote and realise the right of everyone to a world of work that is free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

JSCOT Chair Mr Josh Wilson MP said: "Violence and harassment in the world of work is still far too common. In the five years prior to the 2022 Time for Respect Survey, forty-one per cent of women experienced sexual harassment at work in Australia. This Convention offers a genuine opportunity for Australians to recognise that mutual respect and dignity are a central part of work, and to reduce the instances of violence and harassment in the workplace."

The Convention contains innovative provisions, including a world-first in international labour standards in the form of a comprehensive definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence and harassment.

"In recent years, violence and harassment at work in Australia has been a major part of our national conversation and we have seen long-awaited improvements to our domestic law and policy. The Committee concluded that ratifying this first-of-its-kind Convention would be an important milestone in Australia's continuing efforts to respond to this issue."

The Convention covers all workers and other persons in the world of work, from full time employees to gig-economy workers, and from people who are in training or volunteering to workers who have lost their jobs.

The Convention also covers work in public or private spaces, travelling to and from work, rest breaks, and work-related travel and training.

The Report can be found on the Committee website

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