The Role of the SDA Women's Officer

The role of the Women`s Officer is to help our members maintain the balance between their working life and time with their family.

While many of the issues we deal with are specific to women, we can also advise the many dads who need to know their rights and obligations relating to parental leave and other family issues.

This focus on family issues can take many forms, for example:

Help to negotiate for rosters that suit the needs of a young family.

This may involve working around school hours, allowing for the collection of children from day care or ensuring that mum or dad is at home with the children in the evenings – also when necessary, ensuring that the child can be collected from day care  before 6.00pm.

There is also an increasing need to negotiate on behalf of grandparents as they too are providing care due to varying circumstances.

Both the availability of day-care positions and also the large costs incurred by families is a growing concern to our members with younger children.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always get better as children get older, grandparents are often needed to mind grandchildren before and/or after school. Parents struggle to afford OOSH fees and most could not afford to give up a shift.

Some families may have no family support close by, or perhaps at all, so it is extremely important to contact our office if rosters are an issue for you and your family.

Ensuring a roster provides for staff having access to a safe journey home.

Ensuring pregnant employees have access to safe duties.

A doctor may recommend lighter duties for an employee during pregnancy.

This might be required for a short period, while the mother is at risk, or could cover the whole duration of the pregnancy.

If a member is fit for alternative duties and a business that can provide those duties, fails to do so, the employee may be entitled to take paid leave.

However, it is very rare that a detail outlet cannot find safe duties for a pregnant staff member.

How to apply for and return from maternity leave.

We have valuable information on our website that outlines  how to notify the business, how and when to apply for maternity leave and how to go about notifying the business when the time comes to return to work.

Our Parental Leave booklets also contain sample letters that cover all aspects of maternity leave.

Sexual Harassment and Domestic Violence Issues

We can provide support, and help you navigate these issues in your workplace. These are an example of the day to day services we can offer.

Behind the scenes, the National Women’s Committee (NWC) works tirelessly to raise awareness of issues faced by many families and negotiates for entitlements that reflect their concerns.

A good example would be the work the NWC has done towards achieving paid parental leave in Australia, and it continues to work to improve it further.

Currently there is a strong focus on issues surrounding domestic violence, and negotiating clauses within Enterprise Agreements that will ensure that anyone subjected to domestic violence, receives the help and support they need from their workplace.

For help or just advice perhaps. Please contact our office on 4961 4694.


*pictured is SDA Newcastle & Northern Branch's Womens Officer Lyn Wiebe. 

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