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ACU rejects wider maternity agenda

Australian Catholic University's landmark move on maternity leave was not made to pressure others to do the same, its vice-chancellor said.

"We didn't do it because we wanted to pressure other universities to do it, that wasn't part of our agenda," Professor Peter Sheehan said.

Under the deal, women with two years' service at the ACU will get 12 weeks' maternity leave on full pay and 40 weeks' leave on 60 per cent pay and men will get three weeks' paid paternity leave.

Prof Sheehan said the arrangement reflected ACU's particular ethos.

"With the media interest in it and the importance of it being a first, there will be pressure on other universities, but I would like to stress that this was a decision for our institution in its own environment with its ethos and it was the right decision for us, Prof Sheehan told the Seven Network.

"Whether other universities or other agencies go that way I think must be a decision for them." Prof Sheehan said the ACU was a family values-oriented university.

"We don't offer this package unless we feel we can afford it, but it's very important that the package reflects the values of the university and the work environment of the female staff," he said.

Australian Catholic University