ANU will introduce 26 weeks paid leave for partners of birth mothers, where both parents work at ANU. VC Brian Schmidt announced the policy yesterday. This is “consistent with community standards of shared parental responsibility,” the VC said.
The announcement builds on the staff benefits in the new enterprise agreement, negotiated last year, which increased paid parental leave from 20 to 26 weeks and partner leave to 15 working days. The agreement also “revised definitions to remove ambiguity and to cover a broad spectrum of parental arrangements.”
Last month ANU climate scientist Sophie Lewis went public after a year-long dispute over her right to parental leave from an Australian Research Council funded project, to care for her new baby. According to Dr Lewis her application was denied because her wife was the birth mother. The decision was reversed within a week.
Yesterday National Tertiary Education Union president Jeannie Rea “applauded” the ANU initiative, “expanding partner leave does contribute to greater gender equity and enables women with partners to realistically negotiate their time on parental leave with maintaining their careers,” she said.
Ms Rea called a second ANU commitment, to gender parity in executive appointments, “appropriately ambitious and welcomed.”