UWA Decision to Centralising Parental Leave Costs is a Win for Working Parents
The University of Western Australia has announced that all parental leave payments will be centrally funded from 1 January 2012.
This means that Schools, Faculties and Units will no longer have to bear the direct cost of the University's paid parental leave scheme.
That scheme, which was negotiated by the NTEU, provides 26 to 36 weeks paid leave to the primary care giver of a child after a birth or adoption.
This is an important initiative as it removes the incentive to avoid employing women of child bearing age, removes the financial barriers to employment of replacement staff during periods of parental leave (with consequent impacts on workloads), and most importantly allows employees, particularly women, to feel comfortable in accessing their full parental leave entitlements secure in the knowledge that in doing so they will not be disadvantaging their co-workers.
It is to be hoped that those other universities who currently do not centrally fund parental leave payments are encouraged by UWA's example to also now do so.