IT'S SPECIAL: Jenny Barton, from Bangalow, with her 22-month-old daughter Shanelle, supports Aldi's maternity leave policy. Pic
IT'S SPECIAL: Jenny Barton, from Bangalow, with her 22-month-old daughter Shanelle, supports Aldi's maternity leave policy. Pic

Maternity deal top shelf

By MARY MANN

'WOMEN shouldn't have to give up their career just because they want to have kids.'

It's a simple message Bangalow mum Jenny Barton says with a whole lot of passion.

But it is something she hopes women will have to do less of after this week's announcement from grocery chain Aldi that it has followed Myer's ground-breaking move and will offer employees 14-weeks paid maternity leave.

It's a move Federal Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard was quick to praise, saying other retailers would soon follow suit.

And it has given North Coast mums, such as Ms Barton, some hope children and a career can go together.

After filling up her trolley at Aldi in Ballina yesterday, the mother of five told The Northern Star Aldi's maternity leave decision was a smart move.

"The last thing you want to do after having a baby is go straight back to work or worry about money," Ms Burton said.

"I was lucky, I got nine weeks paid maternity leave when I had Shanelle." Aldi, a German-based supermarket chain, has stores at Ballina and Grafton, with plans underway for stores at Lismore and Casino.

Aldi's group managing director Michael Kloeters said from April, Aldi employees could receive 14 weeks pay at 50 per cent while on maternity leave.

"It is the next logical step in terms of providing a solid working environment for employees," he said.

"We invest a substantial amount of time and money in employees and don't like to lose them, so we're hoping paid maternity leave will be an attractive retention strategy."

But Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association national secretary Joe De Bruyn has called for a Federal Government-funded system for all women to be paid 14 weeks minimum wage.

"Getting it from an individual company is good, but we believe the only way to get this benefit universally is if the government does the paying rather than the employer," he said.



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