Women disproportionately wear the brunt of managing work and caring responsibilities. Struggling to manage the competing priorities at home and work often leaves women with the reduced capacity to earn a decent wage and /or to provide the care they want to their families.
The ACTU has initiated the Time to Care campaign, A campaign about enshrining better workplace rights for carers to request flexibility and for these rights to include an appeal if an employer unreasonably refuses a request. The ACTU wants these right to be made part of the National Employment Standards so as many workers as possible can access increased workplace flexibility. The ACTU is asking for:
- Carers to have the right to request and not be unreasonably refused a change in start/finish times, part-time work or job sharing, or to work more hours over fewer days, or work from home;
- Carers to have these requests genuinely considered by their employer;
- Carers having the right to an appeal if an employer unreasonably refuses a request for a change.
The Federal Government has announced that they will expand the right to request to a broader range of carers and define what the ‘reasonable business grounds’ are on which employers may legally refuse such requests for flexibility. As yet the Federal Government has not yet committed to the following:
- To include in the National Employment Standards an obligation on employers to genuinely consider an employee’s request for flexibility and make reasonable efforts to accommodate the request; and
- To include in the National Employment Standards A right for employees to an appeal an employer’s unreasonable refusal of their request.
The ACTU and the wider community now have 3 weeks to convince the Government to make this change when they amend the Fair Work Act.
If this is an issue you want to get more involved in or learn more about you can visit the Time to Care website and complete a survey and share your story of the struggle to balance paid work and unpaid care work. http://www.securejobs.org.au/Home/Campaigns/Time-to-care.aspx.
See link for Summary report of views regarding support required to balance work and family compiled by the ACTU ‘ Australians want Time to Care’ http://www.actu.org.au/Publications/Other/AustralianswantTimetoCareAsummaryreportofviewsregardingsupportrequiredtobalanceworkandcare.aspx
Care Aware is a government initiative raising awareness for over 2 million unpaid carers of working age in Australia.
It’s important that all workplaces provide understanding and support. Becoming a Care Aware Workplace can help you to improve working arrangements so your team can balance their work and life as carers.
The Australian Government will be broadening the Fair Work Act to extend the right to request flexible work arrangements for workers with caring responsibilities. You can start preparing your workplace now.
Register your organisation for free today and receive the Care Aware Workplaces guidebook.
Attached links to the Care Aware materials, including media release and video of Parks Victoria talking about the mutual benefits of becoming a Care Aware workplace.
Care Aware Workplaces
Media Release Encouraging flexible workplaces for Australia_s carers
The Australian Human Rights Commission is focused on addressing sex discrimination and promoting gender equality in Australia – and ensuring the economic and financial security of all women. The Investing in care: Recognising and valuing those who care report examines the impact of unpaid caring responsibilities on workforce participation and retirement incomes and savings. The report and technical papers are available here.
The national time use data collection in Australia is under threat and a campaign is underway to stop the cancellation of this important data source. If you haven’t signed the petition yet it’s not too late. Join the campaign here
National time use data has been collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) since 1992 with the most recent survey being in 2006. These surveys have been recognized internationally for their well-developed methodology and rich data about how people spend their time.
Recently a decision was made to incorporate the national time use data collection into the Work, Life and Family Survey: Work, Care and Family Balance Survey (WoLFS) with the next expanded survey to begin in 2013.
- was designed to collect detailed information about the caring responsibilities of people in a systematic way, and to include detailed information on working time arrangements and the perceived impacts of paid and unpaid work obligations on economic, physical and emotional wellbeing
- )would have updated information collected in the 2006 Time Use Survey, which is already out-of-date for policy purposes
- would support new analysis of the relationship between employment arrangements, family and caring responsibilities, retirement planning and broader social and economic participation;
- is a great improvement over a scatter of several disparate surveys conducted intermittently.
The WoLFS survey has been cancelled by the ABS because their budget has been cut by AUD $1.4 million annually, according to reports. If the cancellation goes ahead there will be a lack of core information on the care economy and its impacts on individuals, households and communities. Join the campaign to reinstate the survey here
IAFFE member (International Association for Feminist Economics) member Jennifer Olmsted developing a manual focusing on how census data can be used
for gender analysis. If you have published research that uses census data
as part of a gender analysis, particularly examples from global south countries, please
share them with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have news or resources about women, equal opportunity and economic security – let us know! We’ll add to our website and mailing list. Contact us here.