Harness Racing NSW is introducing a maternity leave policy guaranteeing the income of female drivers during pregnancy.
From Thursday, women who are not allowed to continue driving during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy will be compensated by the sport’s controlling authority.
There are more than 100 female drivers registered in NSW harness racing and the code’s new maternity leave scheme – which is similar to the Racing NSW policy for female jockeys – means they have some financial backing during pregnancy when harness racing rules prevent them from driving.
John Dumesny, the chief executive officer of HRNSW, has been instrumental in formulating the new policy which has been 12 months in the making and is a first for the harness racing code.
“With harness racing being very much gender-equal – some of our top trainers and drivers are female – we have to provide for them in times when our rules preclude them from racing,’’ Dumesny said.
“This policy has been designed to compensate female drivers who are no longer able to race and to provide them with a reasonable income during their pregnancies.’’
KerryAnn Morris and her baby daughter, Stella.Source:Supplied
HRNSW will pay an applicant the amount equal to the average weekly income earned by the driver from NSW races in the 12 months prior to her having to cease driving under harness racing rules.
The total payment is capped at $7500.
After the baby is born, a female harness driver is then eligible for the Federal Government’s paid parental leave scheme.
KerryAnn Morris, who made headlines in May when she drove a Group 1 winner at Menangle just three weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Stella, described the HRNSW maternity leave policy as a welcome initiative.
“It’s great to know there will be some financial backing for women in our sport going forward,’’ she said.
“I think this is one of the hardest industries there is to combine work and a family so knowing there is some financial relief is a really positive step.
“Women shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to pursue their careers just because they are starting a family and this new policy means there is an option to do both.’’
Originally published asMaternity leave plan to help NSW female drivers
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