Ave Maria, it’s a girl!
ACU led way on maternity leave
The vice-chancellor of Australian Catholic University (ACU National), Professor Peter Sheehan, has welcomed the national debate on the introduction of paid maternity leave.
It is little less than a year since ACU National made history as the first employer in Australia to introduce 12 months’ paid maternity leave, which encouraged widespread debate on the issue.
“We are pleased that our ground-breaking enterprise bargaining agreements have put paid maternity leave on the national agenda,” said Prof Sheehan.
“We welcome the discussion of the role of government in the provision of paid maternity leave.
“Government-funded maternity leave could help to ensure that there is no employer discrimination against women of childbearing age.”
Prof Sheehan’s comments came after Prime Minister John Howard agreed to consider government-funded maternity leave as one option to help families.
Small businesses would not be expected to bear the cost of maternity leave payments, Mr Howard said.
The Government is reviewing the family payments system. Family experts have warned that without a major change in government financial support of families the birth rate will fall even further over the next several years.
“Raising the next generation of children is one of the most important tasks facing our society,” said Prof Sheehan.
“Making it possible for one parent to stay at home during the first year of their child’s life is very important.”