If you care for a family member or loved ones, chances are that you rely on flexible employment arrangements. Research conducted with working Australians by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and ACTU, strongly supports the role of employment in caring responsibilities. Today we ask what role will business be taking in the conversation?
Two in five working Australians are either parents of a child under 15 years or have responsibilities to care for a person with disability, chronic illness or frailty due to older age. Flexibility in the workplace assists carers to stay in and get back to work. The right to request flexible work arrangements and to have that request taken seriously by employers, would allow you to remain in the workforce and maintain income security.
And for doing what? Taking care of those closest to you.
Employers must be required to accept reasonable requests for part-time work from all people who have genuine caring responsibilities.
And accommodating flexible work arrangements it is not going to cost the employer their game. Employers successfully implement mechanisms to support carers every day reaping the benefits of retaining skilled and dedicated employees:
- Develop a 'care lens' by surveying employees to identify the number and types of carers within a business. In consultation with staff, the employer can establish a local definition of 'caring' and respond to specific workplace concerns.
- Establish a policy for 'work-life balance and leave management'. These employers recognise that balance between work and personal commitments is a valuable tool for greater business productivity.
- What about a 'credit-hours' scheme? Staff can utilise traditional Time Off In Lieu arrangements to supplement their bank of Carer's leave.
- Utilise technology to streamline approval processes for carer's leave from staff who have registered their personal responsibilities.
- Offer staff information, consultation, intermediation, and training services for caring.
AHRC have produced a Community Guide and a Toolkit geared at supporting carers and the workplace. You could use it to start a conversation where you work.
Read more about the ACTU Time To Care campaign.