Vice-Chancellor announces commitment at International Women’s Day event
The University of Wollongong reaffirmed its commitment to gender equity on the eve of International Women’s Day, proposing a series of measures that will provide greater financial security for female employees.
At an International Women’s Day lunch, Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE announced that the University would pledge to make employer superannuation contributions of 9.5% for employees taking unpaid parental leave in the first year of a child’s life.
In addition, he proposed that the University would also extend the 17% superannuation contribution it pays for permanent, full-time staff to include all permanent, part-time employees who work less than 0.5FTE.
UOW will take both ideas to the negotiating table, where the University is working with the National Tertiary Education Union and the Community and Public Sector Union on updated Enterprise Bargaining Agreements for both professional service and academic staff.
Professor Wellings said the proposed changes to the University’s superannuation system would provide vital support to predominantly female staff, who are often disadvantaged financially during periods of unpaid parental leave.
“Gender equity is fundamental to an organisation’s success and critical for society as a whole,” Professor Wellings said.
“UOW has a proud history and reputation for promoting and supporting gender equity and closing the gender pay gap. This is evidenced by our recognition as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality, and a recipient of an inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Award and there is still more work for us to do.
“By boosting superannuation for those taking unpaid parental leave and for permanent, part-time employees, we can provide greater balance and much-needed support that will help more women build a stronger financial future.”
The announcement comes on the back of UOW being named one of the best workplaces in Australia for gender equality, receiving an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality Citation from te Workplace Gender Equality Agency last month.
In December 2018, UOW was also awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award from Science in Australia Gender Equity Initiative, which recognised the University’s commitment to gender equality in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM).
Professor Wellings said the University was hoping to include the proposals in the final text of the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreements, which will go to staff votes in 2019. These changes would provide greater gender equity and balance in the workplace.
The announcement was made at UOW’s International Women’s Day lunch, which was attended by academics and professional staff.