Work Care and Family Policies

26 April 2022
Federal Election Benchmarks
The Australian Work + Family Policy Roundtable, a research network of academics, is proposing a series of benchmarks needed to inform evidence-based public policy prior to the Federal election.

Bringing the best national and international research evidence on work and care into the election debate since 2005, the Work + Family Policy Roundtable has consistently made recommendations around work, care and family policy in Australia.

The severe disruption to work and the collapse in care systems experienced during the pandemic calls for a radical reform in our work/care policy architecture. In the lead up to the federal election, the Roundtable is proposing a set of research-informed Policy Benchmarks against which election proposals for improving work, care and family outcomes can be assessed.

One of the two co-convenors of the Roundtable, Associate Professor Elizabeth Hill from the University of Sydney's Department of Political Economy said: “Successive federal governments having taken an ad hoc approach to work and care policy over the past 20 years. This set of Federal Election Benchmarks argue for a linked approach to policy that delivers the conditions of decent work and decent care for worker-carers and the care workforce which will support a strong and inclusive recovery and build the foundation for a resilient economy.”

Roundtable co-convenor, Professor Sara Charlesworth from the Centre for People Organisation & Work at RMIT University, said: “Policy and regulatory settings that deliver a living wage, stable and secure working time, paid leave provisions, safe workplaces and close the gender pay gap are urgently needed to support worker-carers over the life course and to build gender equality and positive outcomes for women, families and the community.”

The Roundtable offers recommendations in five domains that recognise and support the interconnections of work and across society and the economy:

1.     Decent work

2.     High-quality care infrastructure and a sustainable care workforce

3.     Gender pay equality

4.     Safe and respectful workplaces

5.     Institutional support for decent work and decent care

To achieve this the Roundtable recommends a national agency for Work, Care and Community, responsible for the overarching design and implementation of equitable work, care and family policies that are the foundation of a prosperous and inclusive economy and society. 

The Australian Work + Family Policy Roundtable is a research network of 31 academics from 18 universities and research institutions who are guided by principles which uphold good and fair labour laws and social policies across issues of gender, disability, social justice, sustainability, culture and social needs.

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