ANU announces major expansion of parental leave on International Women’s Day

The Australian National University (ANU) has celebrated International Women’s Day by announcing a series of new measures to support female academics and parents, including a major expansion of paid parental leave.

At an International Women’s Day forum, Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt announced the University would match paid parental leave entitlements for partners.

The arrangement means partners will be provided with up to 26 weeks of paid parental leave, which is consistent with community standards of shared parental responsibility.

“Research shows that women experience long-term negative effects on their careers and earnings as a result of periods of leave from work taken to care for children,” Professor Schmidt said.

“Increasing flexibility in paid parental leave entitlements and supporting the role of partners in caring for children will help address gender inequality at the University.”

The announcement builds on the University approving the early introduction of improved parental leave entitlements, which were negotiated for inclusion in the proposed ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021.

Professor Schmidt also announced a new program to support high-potential female academics.

The new Academic Women’s Leadership Program will provide more tailored development support to female academics to help them to further their careers within ANU.

Professor Schmidt said the program was in line with the University’s commitment to grow the number of female leaders, including the goal of having 50:50 executive appointments.

Professor Schmidt said the ANU would also double the value of the University’s Carers’ Career Development Assistance Fund (CCDAF) grants. Staff will be able to apply for up to $2,000 to help cover the costs of caring for dependents when they travel to national or international events that contribute to their careers.

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