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News News Work life 'out of balance' under WorkChoices
Workers are doing more hours and have less family time under new workplace changes, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.

SA Unions, in a submission to the state inquiry, says Australia's work-life balance is tilting in the wrong direction, with the new federal industrial laws a key factor.

In a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Work/Life Balance, chaired by Labor MP Grace Portolesi, the unions says one way forward would be laws protecting family rights.

"The evidence is clear - the balance between work and family life is shifting in the wrong direction under the federal laws," SA Unions secretary Janet Giles told the inquiry. "We face social fractures - as workers push themselves ever harder to try to make ends meet - and families have less and less quality time together.

"Mothers, fathers and children are flat-out simply trying to keep their heads above water.

"The precarious nature of employment, coupled with longer working hours and uncertainty around shift work, means that families are finding it tough trying to co-ordinate time together."

Ms Giles said the State Government had led the way in acknowledging the crisis, by including work-life balance targets in the state's strategic plan.

"We applaud their commitment to set firm targets," she said.

"But those targets are meaningless without strategies to actually achieve them.

"We call on the State Government to turn targets into reality.

"And that means standing up for our state and our quality of life, by putting in place local strategies to insulate our families from the Federal Government's destructive laws."

Ms Giles said that laws protecting family rights could involve amending the Equal Opportunity Act to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of family responsibilities.


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