Cricket Australia defends 'notification of pregnancy' policy for women

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland
James Sutherland has been CA's chief executive for 15 years

Cricket Australia has defended its policy of asking women players to declare if they are pregnant when they sign a central contract.

CA's chief executive James Sutherland says the organisation has not broken any anti-discrimination rules and the policy is a "health and safety issue".

He added: "We are fully aware of our obligations as an employer."

The England & Wales Cricket Board says it does not have a "notification of pregnancy" rule for women cricketers.

"As employees of the ECB, England women's centrally contracted players are supported by the full terms of maternity conditions, as per any other female non-playing ECB employee," an ECB statement read.

"They are not required to declare if they are pregnant before they sign their contract."

The legal position

It is unlawful to ask a woman if she is pregnant before employing them, under Australia's Sex Discrimination Act.

Sutherland insists that the organisation has not breached any regulations, and says CA has a policy of paying out the whole contract should a centrally-contracted cricketer become pregnant.

"We are fully aware of our obligations as an employer and any anti-discrimination issues. This is not about a matter of us trying to take a higher ground on discrimination," he told ABC Grandstand.

Cricket Australia's policy

Sutherland says cricketers are required to inform Cricket Australia if they are pregnant when they sign a central contract, so the organisation can then work with the player to ensure the health of both mother and baby.

"We are asking the lady to declare to the doctor on a confidential basis so the doctor who services the team that she plays for can be aware and if anything untoward happens on the cricket field or at training or whatever, the needs of health and safety can be serviced," he said.