Women on paid parental leave say banks routinely discriminate against them during loan applications

Home Politics Women on paid parental leave say banks routinely discriminate against them during loan applications
Women on paid parental leave say banks routinely discriminate against them during loan applications

Banks and other lenders are routinely discriminating against women who apply for loans and credit cards while on paid parental leave.

Multiple women have told the ABC their loan applications have been cancelled, or onerous requirements imposed on them, simply because they are on birth, parental or maternity leave.

When they’ve challenged the banks, the institutions have been unable to produce a written policy to justify their decisions.

Sarah – who doesn’t want to be identified – said she faced discrimination when she and her partner applied for a home loan for the “perfect fixer-upper” she had found in Canberra.

On paid parental leave from her job with the ACT government, the 36-year-old had a meeting with a home loan manager days out from the auction. Having secured two home loans before, she wasn’t expecting any issues.

“He looked at my pay slip … which said ‘birth leave’ next to the salary amount and he said there was a problem,” she said.

“He explained that loan approvers wouldn’t approve the loan because of my pay slip.

“When I asked why, he said many women choose not to return to full-time work after maternity leave.

“I said ‘that wouldn’t be the case for me … because I don’t have a baby’.

“I’d lost the baby, so I would definitely be returning to work full time.”

A toddler holds his mother's hand
Sarah, with son Sandy, faced discrimination while on parental leave for her second child.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Sarah lost her second baby and was seeing out her full 18 weeks of paid leave, before returning to work.

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