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