Reform Needed for Those With Family & Carer Responsibilities
26 March 2007 at 12:26 pm
A new law protecting workers with family and carer responsibilities from discrimination and giving them a right to request flexible work arrangements is at the centre of a range of recommendations released by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).
The It’s About Time: Women, men, work and family paper launched in Sydney this month is the result of two years of research and national community consultation. The paper sets out a framework for reform which recognises changing family and carer responsibilities across the life cycle. The paper outlines what support Australians need to give themselves and options about balancing paid work and care.
HREOC President and Acting Sex Discrimination Commissioner, John von Doussa says the law plays a central role and a new specialised Family Responsibilities and Carers’ Rights Act is the best way of improving protection for workers with family responsibilities.
He says the paper also takes a broader view and proposes a range of measures to make communities, tax and welfare systems, child care, aged care and disability services, as well as workplaces, more family-friendly.
He says the Commission believes the proposals work for business as well as families.
The report says gender equality is a vital part of the new approach to paid work and family responsibilities, but the reform is not just about gender equality – it is about supporting both men and women to make choices which best suit them to meet their responsibilities for the care of children and aged or family members with disability.
The It’s About Time: Women, men, work and family paper makes 45 recommendations to start the ball rolling in creating a new social vision for Australia which is based on the wealth of time spent with family as well as the wealth that comes from economic prosperity.
The report is available here.