Govt must act now on work and family policies: report

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Govt must act now on work and family policies: report

Leaving family-friendly measures to individual workplaces has led to a big deterioration in the lives of most working Australian families, according to a new report released the day after major work and family awards.

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Leaving family-friendly measures to individual workplaces has led to a big deterioration in the lives of most working Australian families, according to a new report released the day after major work and family awards.

‘Paid Work and Parenting’, written by WorkplaceInfo’s partner ACIRRT, says awards like that won by Alcoa this week from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, do not encourage the mass of Australian companies to follow suit. Ad hoc initiatives do nothing to address systematic problems, the report says.

ACIRRT deputy director John Buchanan and co-author Louise Thornthwaite, also say public policy is ‘at best ineffectual and at worst [exacerbates] the situation’. They say the Federal Government should act by introducing:

  • Paid parental leave, partially financed by employers;
  • A comprehensive, quality child care system;
  • Employee choice in rostering, backed up by awards and legislation, to help workers balance their work and family lives;
  • A Cabinet sub-committee on work and family issues to oversee the better integration of initiatives that affect the quality of balance;
  • Better collection of data and monitoring of preferences and policy impacts.

Opposition Employment spokesperson Cheryl Kernot foreshadowed that the ALP would release a job security policy in the lead-up to the election, and said Labor would research ways of funding paid parental leave.

The report was produced for the Chifley Research Foundation.

 
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