Sex

What does the Human Rights Act mean by sex?

Sex includes pregnancy and childbirth and refers to gender.

What does the Human Rights Act say about sex?

It is unlawful to discriminate on the ground of sex in any of the prohibited areas of public life.

What exceptions are there applying to sex?

There are a number of circumstances where it is not unlawful to discriminate on the ground of sex. These include:

In general:

  • preferential treatment relating to pregnancy and childbirth, and family responsibilities.

In employment (includes pre-employment and advertising):

  • crews of non New Zealand ships and aircraft
  • work performed outside New Zealand
  • for reasons of authenticity
  • domestic employment in a private household
  • reasonable standards of privacy
  • work-related accommodation
  • counselling on personal matters
  • combat role in armed forces.

In goods and services:

  • courses and counselling on personal matters
  • public decency and safety / nature of skill
  • insurance
  • sport.

In accommodation:

  • shared residential accommodation
  • hostels and institutions.

Superannuation:

It is unlawful for superannuation schemes to treat people differently on the basis of sex except where different contributions, or different benefits for each sex are based on reasonable data (relating to life expectancy, accidents or sickness) and the different treatment is reasonable.

Sexual harassment

Please read the following leaflets for more information on sexual harassment:

Sexual harassment guide (PDF Version).
Available in Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional) and Hindi.

Your rights as a pregnant worker

Please read the following leaflets for more information on your rights as a pregnant worker:

Available in गर्भवती कर्मचारी के रूप में आपके अधिकार – Hindi, ‘O ou āiā tatau fa’aletagata faigaluega a’o e ma’itaga – Samoan, Ko ho’o ngaahi totonu koe‘uhi koe tokotaha ngāue koe ‘oku lolotonga feitama – Tongan, 您作为怀孕员工应该享有的权利 – Simplified Chinese and 您身為懷孕的雇員所有的權利 – Traditional Chinese.

*Changes to parental leave:

  • Paid parental leave has been extended from 14 to 16 weeks from 1 April 2015.
  • The extension is one of two steps to extend paid parental leave to 18 weeks by 1 April 2016.
  • From 1 April 2015, the parental tax credit has increased from $150 a week to $220 a week, and the payment period was extended from eight weeks to 10 weeks.

Further information

Human rights enquiries & complaints guide (PDF Version).
Available in Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional) and Hindi.