Positive change on the work and family front

The Prime Minister has today announced policy changes in response to the Fair Work Act review, to help workers balance work and family.

The first change is to the right to request flexible work. I wrote about the right to request flexible work, in its current form, in October, for New Matilda. You can find the article here. I am looking forward to seeing the proposed changes. The Prime Minister mentioned carers in the interview she gave, so I am hopeful that the right to request will extend to carers of elderly or disabled relatives other than children, as well as to parents.

The other issue that the Prime Minister singled out is roster changes. Roster changes at short notice can cause problems for those parents who have arranged childcare around their rosters. At the moment it is possible for parents in that situation to ask the courts or relevant tribunals for an injunction, using indirect discrimination law, to prevent the roster change from taking effect. But that is an expensive and risky proposition for most workers. I’ll be keenly interested to see the shape of the protection to which the Prime Minister was referring.

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