26 July 2010

Expert comment on working families and Election 2010

The Australian Work and Family Policy Roundtable has highlighted key policy areas that must be addressed in the Federal Election to improve conditions for working families.

RMIT University’s Dr Sara Charlesworth is a founding member of the Roundtable, which yesterday launched its “Benchmarks for Work and Family Policies for Election 2010”.

Comprised of 19 leading work and family policy researchers from 12 universities, the Roundtable has highlighted policy areas of crucial importance:

  • more accessible, affordable and quality childcare;
  • flexible work practices to better support carers;
  • improved paid parental leave, including an early increase to 26 weeks;
  • fairer work, fairer workplaces and gender pay equity;
  • work, family and workplace culture;
  • workforce participation and the tax transfer system; and,
  • superannuation and retirement earnings.

“Improving flexibility in the workplace remains a serious issue for all workers, not just parents of children under school age,” Dr Charlesworth said.

“Extending paid parental leave is also a crucial goal to bring Australia into line with the UK, with its nine-month statutory minimum, and with other countries in Europe, where paid parental leave schemes of six months or more are most common.

“Achieving 18 weeks’ paid parental leave at the minimum wage was an important step but we cannot stop there – a 26-week scheme is not only achievable but essential for promoting the wellbeing of mothers and their children.”

The full recommendations can be downloaded from the Family Policy Roundtable website.

Dr Charlesworth is a Principal Research Fellow in RMIT’s Centre for Applied Social Research.

She is available for interview.

For interviews: RMIT University’s Dr Sara Charlesworth, 0412 889 122.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

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