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Labor to boost bargaining power of working mums.



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FOR MEDIA

CRAIG EMERSON Member for Rankin

SHADOW MINISTER FOR WORKPLACE RELATIONS

20 October 2003

LABOR TO BOOST BARGAINING POWER OF WORKING MUMS

In a family-friendly legislative reform, Labor will assist mothers wishing to return to work after having a baby by empowering them to request part-time work. Their employer will not be able to refuse any such request unreasonably.

In determining reasonableness in the event of a disagreement, the Industrial Relations Commission would have regard to the size and nature of the workplace. This will take account of small businesses, which may not be able to accommodate part-time work.

If an employer could not reasonably accommodate a mother’s request, then the employer need only make their case.

This policy will help working mothers to better balance work and family life.

This light-touch regulation is designed to accelerate cultural change by employers, to recognise more fully the skills possessed by working mothers and their challenges in balancing work and family life.

Labor will also make the awards system more family friendly. The Commission will be required to examine proposed agreements on the basis of whether or not they assist employees balance work with family responsibilities.

While John Howard starts and stops his barbecue on balancing work and family life, Labor has announced genuine legislative reform. Mr Howard might consider that “the present policy mix is about right in providing effective choice for parents”1, but Labor doesn’t.

Today’s announcement is down-payment on Labor’s policies for better balancing work and family life.

Contact: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386 or Nada Delavec 0419 584 241

1 The Age, 4 August 2003