Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) is now providing extra support for female participants by introducing a Maternity Leave Payment (MLP) initiative for full-time licensed jockeys.
The MLP is available to eligible female riders who are restricted under the Australian Rules of Racing from undertaking their normal duties as a jockey due to pregnancy.
TRSA says the initiative – which applies from the beginning of the second trimester through to the birth of the child – further acknowledges the need to remove any obstacles to females choosing a career in the thoroughbred racing industry.
“South Australia has a long and proud history of female participation in our industry and this measure is just another step towards ensuring females can pursue their goals in racing, without impediments,” said TRSA chief executive officer Nick Redin.
“The percentage of female jockeys has increased sharply in recent times, and a glance at the South Australian records over the past five, 10 or 15 years shows they are a crucial and integral part of our local scene.”
TRSA has implemented the MLP at a rate equivalent to the relevant jockey’s average weekly earnings for the previous 12 months prior to the conception of the child. This amount is capped at $1513 per week and $12,100 in total.
TRSA’s new policy has been welcomed by local jockeys and their representative bodies, including the state arm of the Australian Jockey Association (SAJA).
“SAJA/AJA are very thankful to TRSA for implementing the jockey Maternity Leave Payment policy which will assist female jockeys and their families during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy,” said SAJA secretary – and AJA national WHS officer – Kevin Ring.
Mr Ring said the policy would ensure gender equality and equal opportunity, plus help retain valuable skills within the industry.
“It also mitigates severe financial hardship for jockeys and their families,” Mr Ring said.
Adelaide-based rider – and SAJA jockeys’ representative – Eran Boyd described the policy as “wonderful” and predicted it would lead to even more female industry participation.
“With the increase of female riders over the years, I believe this will be very much welcomed amongst our ranks,” she said.
“I also believe it will encourage more women to take up the role as a jockey, because (this issue) is certainly something that women who want to have a family one day look to in the future.”
“It’s a fantastic step forward for TRSA to take this on board and it just shows that we’re adapting with the times.”
Eran said the subject had prompted some discussion among jockey ranks during her time as a rider.
“Especially with some of the more senior women over the years,” she said.
“But we have a lot of younger ladies in there at the moment and I’m sure they’ll be very grateful to hear of this being put in place.”
Mr Redin said payments would be provided fortnightly following the application being processed and approved.
For full details on TRSA’s policy click here.
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