The National Tertiary Education Union has backed moves to provide greater financial security for female employees at the University of Wollongong.
But the NTEU could still take industrial action against a UOW management it says is stalling in addressing other major issues faced by professional and academic staff.
Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings announced during an International Women's Day lunch on Tuesday that UOW would pledge to make employer superannuation contributions of 9.5 per cent 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 per cent superannuation contribution it pays for permanent, full-time staff to include all permanent, part-time employees who work less than 0.5 FTE.
UOW branch president of the NTEU, Georgine Clarsen welcomed these moves she said had only come about after 16 months of negotiations with university management.
"These are some of the good things that have been agreed," Ms Clarsen told the Mercury.
"But negotiations with management have been frustrating, especially over the last two days.
"There have been some good progression and we are glad to have that happen but there has been slow progress, if little on all the major issues.
"Management haven't yet come to us with a pay offer and they are clearly trying to drive a really hard bargain with our entitlements when it comes to redundancy pay.
"We haven't yet got to the end point where we've agreed on a package which suits both parties.
"In fact we are very far from that. We may have to go to our membership and consider industrial action."
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," Prof 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."
Prof 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.