UnionsWA and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) have today released the WA results of a survey on work and care responsibilities. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has just launched its new campaign to Change the Rules for Working Women & Families. As part of that campaign the ACTU is running a case in the Fair Work Commission seeking to establish a right to reduced hours of work in order to attend to care needs.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“Too many working people live in fear, afraid to ask their employer to reduce their working hours so they can care for loved ones.
“The case being led by unions in the Fair Work Commission will create, for the first time, a right to reduced hours of work in order to meet care needs.
“Balancing work with looking after a loved one is hard for many working people.
“The survey found 81.9% of working people in WA currently have or have had caring responsibilities in the past.
“These pressures led to a third of all respondents at some point needing to ask an employer for reduced hours of work in order to cope with demands for the care of loved ones.
“Of those requests for reduced hours to also attend to unpaid care responsibilities, three quarters of employers did the right thing and agreed.
“However, more than a quarter of respondents that asked for reduced work hours had that request rejected by their employer.
“An additional 8.4% of all survey respondents reported that while they needed reduced hours of work to attend to care responsibilities they did not ask their employer.
“The reasons for not even asking an employer for reduced work hours for care included fear of the consequences, accounting for 22.2% of those that did not make a request; because they did not think a request would be approved, in 26.2% of cases, and 38.4% indicated that their workplace didn’t have a culture that supports flexible work.
“Carers who work should not be scared to ask for reduced hours of work.
“When our kids, ailing parents or a person with disability are properly cared for, our entire community benefits.
“This survey shows that our workplace laws haven't kept pace with modern life. That's why we need a right to reduced hours of work for people with caring responsibilities and why the case being run by the union movement is so important.”
Respondents = 482