MAKE IT FAIR: FAMILY FRIENDLY TEST CASE IN THE FAIR WORK COMMISSION
The SDA supports the ACTU’s push for the right for workers to reduce their hours during periods of significant parenting or caring responsibilities through a test case in the Fair Work Commission.
This would allow workers to go part-time or reduce hours if they need to care for a loved one, such as a young child, ill or ageing parent with the security to return to full-time or previous hours.
The SDA has a long history of advocating for better financial support for families and for more family friendly work arrangements, to assist workers in combining caring responsibilities and paid work. This ranges from arguing for unpaid and paid parental leave to stronger rights for pregnant employees at work.
Juggling work and family is becoming increasingly more difficult for many SDA members, especially women, who face challenges when it comes to rostering, taking parental leave and returning to work after the birth of a child.
The SDA believes the right to reduce hours to care for a loved one is an important step to ensure workplace laws are fair and relevant for Australian workers and their families.
EXAMPLES FROM RETAIL WORKERS:
Reducing wages, demotion, and female managers forced to return to work as a casual
“The only way I got my role back was to put my daughter in day care 5 days…I found it very un-family friendly. If I wanted to keep my role I had to put (the Company) first and the family second.”
Refusing to allow employees to return to their previous position, or to return to all their previously rostered hours, even if they had not requested any change in their hours or days of work
“Job role I left when going on maternity leave was no longer available, when I was told I would have my job back when I returned. HR manager did not know anything about my previous work history and was going to place me in a relief team moving store to store, not suitable to my childcare needs at all. I returned to a part time position with a minimum 20 hours and was given some weeks as low as 8 hours in a part time capacity.”
Offering rosters which are inconsiderate of family responsibilities and unreasonably refusing flexible working arrangements
“I had to limit my availabilities because my husband and I work so I have to be home sometimes to look after my daughter. I got told that it was not fair on the other employees that I am only available a small amount of days and times and that I should work whenever they need me. Nearly all the other employees either have school aged children or are just leaving school and now are in between courses. Lots of them are only available when I am not.”
Campaign survey: www.australianunions.org.au/makeitfair