EOC Welcomes Passage of Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2020
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomes the passage of the Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the Legislative Council today (17 March 2021).
The Bill further strengthens legal protection for breastfeeding women by introducing protection from harassment on the ground of breastfeeding under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), in addition to the protection from discrimination for breastfeeding women under the SDO after the introduction of the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2020.
Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the EOC said, “The EOC is glad to learn that the Bill was passed by the Legislative Council. These amendments, which prohibit harassment on the ground of breastfeeding, would enhance legal protection for breastfeeding women. The amended law would be conducive to creating a more enabling environment for breastfeeding women to continue their full and equal social and economic participation, including staying in or rejoining the workforce while breastfeeding.”
The provisions on prohibiting breastfeeding discrimination and harassment under the SDO will come into force on 19 June 2021. They prohibit breastfeeding discrimination and harassment in a number of sectors, including employment; education; the provision of goods, facilities and services; the disposal or management of premises; clubs; and the Government.
The EOC has already published a series of information leaflets and Guidance on all the amendments of the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2020 and provisions on breastfeeding discrimination to enhance public understanding of the scope and impact of the amendments. The information is available at the EOC webpage: Link
Furthermore, the EOC will continue to conduct talks and workshops for different stakeholders, including human resource practitioners, supervisors, trainers and employers from different organisations and NGOs working to promote equality for women, to explain the content of the Ordinance and how it will affect them.
With funding provided by the Government, the EOC has embarked on a citywide publicity and public education campaign that comprised of publications, TV and radio API (Announcement in the Public Interest), as well as advertisement on the MTR. The TV/radio API and MTR advertisement are expected to be rolled out by mid-2021. The EOC will update the Guidance and other communication materials upon the gazettal of the bill to promulgate the amendments to the public.
The Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2020 was introduced by the Government in response to some of the recommendations made by the EOC in its Report on the Discrimination Law Review which was submitted in March 2016. It provided a number of recommendations to the Government on how the protections from discrimination and harassment under the four anti-discrimination Ordinances should be improved.
Equal Opportunities Commission
17 March 2021