Little or no cost to business in making workplaces flexible for families says ACTU.

A hearing of the ACTU Work and Family Test Case will be held in Sydney today (Thursday) before a full bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Evidence will be presented today from Professor Bill Mitchell, University of Newcastle who has modelled the impact on the national wages bill of key aspects of the ACTU’s claims.

Speaking in advance of the hearing ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“The ACTU argues that its proposals for more flexible workplaces will have little or no long term impact on business costs.

Over the long term, business gains from greater employee loyalty, experience and productivity will outweigh short term costs of replacement and/or training.

Up to 4.5 million working Australians with caring responsibilities stand to benefit from the Test Case. The main claims under consideration are:

Choice for parents to take up to two years unpaid parental leave following the birth of a child – an extension from the current one year entitlement.

Options for full time employees to return to work on a part-time basis for up to 5 years until children are at school.

Ability to ‘salary sacrifice’ & take up to six weeks time off for school holidays.

Flexible start & finish times so families can pick up or deliver to school or care.

Making workplaces more flexible for their employees is crucial to helping people relieve the pressure of balancing work and family.

Time stress and financial stress are the main problems affecting working families in Australia today. “