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Unions likely to reject South Australian CEO maternity leave offer

Catholic school teachers and support staff in South Australia have been offered six weeks' paid maternity leave in enterprise bargaining talks.

At present, as many as 3500 women teachers, laboratory assistants and support staff working in the state's 109 Catholic schools are entitled to four weeks' paid maternity leave. However, the offer is likely to be rejected by members who have called for 14 weeks' paid maternity leave as part of their overall wage and conditions claim.

Secretary of the Association of Non-Government Education Employees, Glen Seidel, said the employers' initial offer was not competitive on a national scale.

"It represents an improvement from the current four weeks' paid maternity leave but the union regards six weeks' (paid maternity leave) as a floor rather than a ceiling," Mr Seidel said. "South Australia's Catholic schools are at the bottom of the national heap on this issue which is simply not good enough.

Mr Seidel said women in New South Wales Catholic schools were entitled to nine weeks' paid maternity leave but were claiming 14 weeks. Their counterparts in the Northern Territory have been promised nine (up from six), Western Australia has six weeks, Tasmania has seven but is going to 10 weeks. Catholic schools in Victoria have six weeks' paid maternity leave but are pushing for 14, Queensland has six and are in renegotiation.

South Australian negotiations began two months ago and the current EB expired on 20 July.

Catholic Education director Alan Dooley was unavailable for comment.

The Advertiser

Association of Non-Government Employees
Catholic Education Office (South Australia)
Maternity leave focus may cloud other issues (31/7/02)
Catholic schools support paid maternity leave but don't have the cash (Br Kelvin Canavan in The Catholic Weekly 30/5/03)
ACU urges employers to follow its example on paid maternity leave (6/5/02)

18 Aug 2003