ACTU President Ged Kearney said unions, community groups and the public call on the Government, employer groups and the Opposition to listen to families in crisis and ensure we protect Australia’s economy.
The ACTU is today launching the Australians Want Time to Care report that clearly demonstrates through hundreds of case studies how Australians are struggling to cope with a lack of due process and out-dated workplace cultures.
This comes as the ACTU will this week lodge a submission to Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013, requesting an appeal process around the right to request family friendly work arrangements.
“A lack of employer engagement in the modernising of the workforce has left us no choice but to raise the volume on this very important issue,” Ms Kearney said.
“We call on the Government to firmly acknowledge the existence of modern families by enshrining in law a right to appeal against employers unreasonable refusals to balance work and family.”
“And we call on the opposition to support the Bill. The Coalition has been silent in regards to their family friendly policies and this is worrying.”
Ms Kearney said employers stuck in the 1950s were limiting people’s ability to care for loved ones and forcing people, especially women, into insecure work or out of the workforce all together.
“We can’t let these employers be the cause of a skills drought as people find they are unable to cope. We know that families are struggling financially and emotionally and the level of anxiety is hurting them.
“Anecdotally we hear that 50 per cent of women at mother’s groups say they can’t return to work because their employer is inflexible.
“Things have changed in broader society but with many workplaces you still have employers who can’t wrap their minds around the idea that a dad might want to go part time to care for his kids or that a woman shouldn’t be forced into insecure work just because she has other responsibilities.”
“Our economy cannot afford to lose these valuable workers and that’s why we say enough is enough. This is a ticking time bomb and we need to act now. Let’s take unnecessary stress off families and all that’s needed is for employers to reasonably consider their employee’s request.”
Ms Kearney said this might mean a change in work hours or to go part time.