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Work and family in the industrial relations system



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G A R Y J O H N S M P M e d i a R e l e a s e

A s s is ta n t M in i s t e r f o r I n d u s t r i a l R e la t io n s

17/94

11 April 1994

W o r k an d F a m ily In th e In d u s tr ia l R e la tio n s S y s te m

Thejoduetfjal^iqtions system provides enormous potential for improving the balance between work and family commitments, according to Mr Gary Johns, Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations.

"The attitudes and expectations of men and women at work and within the family are changing and it is important to achieve a better balance between work and family commitments," he said.

Mr Johns was speaking at a conference on " Balancing the Partnership: Work and Family" in Sydney today.

The conference! held in Best Practice Week, focuses on best practice examples of work and family. It features key award winners from the Australian Financial Review/Business Council of Australia 1993 Corporate Work and Family Awards.

The Minister said enterprise bargaining -under the new industrial relations reforms which came into effect last month-gives employers, unions and employees an excellent opportunity to develop and implement a range of flexible working arrangements and family friendly policies. By using enterprise bargaining, family friendly initiatives can be tailored to suit specific needs of the enterprise and its'

workforce.

"Policies such as flexible working arrangements, permanent part time work, job sharing, career break schemes, paid or unpaid family leave, and assistance with child care and elder care responsibilities, can help workers balance their work and family responsibilities," he said.

"They can also have positive effects for employers. These include increased productivity, increased ability to attract quality staff, lower staff turnover and a better return on training investment.

"For employees, the benefits are reduced stress and greater flexibility in balancing work and family."

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M in is te r Assisting the Prime M in is te r lo r Public Service M atters

Parliament House ■ Canberra

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Professor Bettina Cass, Chair of the National Council for the International Year of the Family, was also a keynote speaker at the conference.

Nine organisations-including Unisys Australia, the Sydney Water Board, the Women's Health Sector, Brisbane and the Public Service Union shared their experiences of implementing family friendly policies in the workplace.

The central message of these companies, and the Government, is that family-friendly measures can be tailored to suit the needs of individual workplaces and employees, and will benefit all parties.

The conference, and another in Melbourne on Thursday, is sponsored by the Commonwealth Department of Industrial Relations, with support from the Council for Equal Opportunity in Employment and the Business Council of Australia.

Media Contacts: Minister's Office Peter Vicary (06) 277 7200 018 620 488

Department Phil Drever (06) 243 7413

ends.