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PM should extend policy re-think to 61% of mothers who want part-time work.



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

CRAIG EMERSON Member for Rankin

SHADOW MINISTER FOR WORKPLACE RELATIONS

13 February 2004

PM SHOULD EXTEND POLICY RE-THINK TO 61% OF MOTHERS WHO WANT PART-TIME WORK

The Prime Minister should again follow Labor’s lead and adopt our proposal to allow parents to request a return to work from parental leave on a part-time basis.

The Prime Minister has been advised by his policy experts that 61 per cent of mothers want to be able to return to work part-time, 1 but he has rejected that advice and condemned Labor’s plan.

His only response to the confidential report of his Work and Family Inter-departmental Taskforce has been to declare that “the present policy mix is about right in providing effective choice for parents”.2

The Prime Minister’s directive to his Taskforce was that:

“the government’s key policy goal in this area is to facilitate choice for families and individuals in relation to balancing their work and family lives, not to mandate behaviour3…”

The Taskforce describes a policy that allows parents to request a return to work on a part-time basis - which is Labor’s policy - as providing “more choice”,4 thereby passing the Prime Minister’s own test.

The report notes that the Government’s award-stripping process had removed a provision from federal awards that had allowed parents to ask for a return to work part-time. It also finds that:

“Failure to secure part-time work upon return from parental leave may result in women resigning rather than combining full-time work with caring for young children.”

Having picked up Mark Latham’s idea on MPs’ super the Prime Minister should also adopt our plan for part-time work.

1 Work and Family: Initial Report of Inter-Departmental Taskforce, December 2002, page 63 (attached) 2 The Age, 4 August 2003. 3

Work and Family: Initial Report of Inter-Departmental Taskforce, December 2002, page 3 (attached) 4 Work and Family: Initial Report of Inter-Departmental Taskforce, December 2002, page 41 (attached)