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Unit of study_

LAWS6344: Work, Care and Gender

Session 1 Early Census, 2021 [Block mode] - Remote

In this unit, we examine laws that regulate work-family balance looking at employer duties to provide family-friendly working conditions and employee rights to have caring responsibilities accommodated in the workplace. We look at gender norms about work and care and how law reflects reinforces and sometimes challenges these. The focus is on workplace laws Fair Work Act 2009 Cth anti-discrimination legislation in respect of discrimination on the basis of sex and caring responsibilities and the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 Cth. We will however also touch on a range of other laws that regulate work and care including laws governing paid parental leave social security and tax laws including childcare subsidies and family assistance. Comparisons will be made with alternative legal regimes for work and care in other countries such as the United States United Kingdom New Zealand and Sweden.

Unit details and rules

Unit code LAWS6344
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

LAWS6252 or a law degree

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Belinda Smith,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation hurdle task Class participation
0% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment hurdle task Short assignment
Written assessment
35% Week 04
Due date: 23 Mar 2021 at 16:00
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task Research essay
Written assessment
65% Week 08
Due date: 27 Apr 2021 at 16:00
5500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Class participation: Students are expected to attend at least 70% of class time and participate in class discussion.  Students will be required to sign up to be ‘on call’ for specific sessions to facilitate class discussion and participation assessment (pass/fail).  
  • Written assignment: Students must complete a ‘Legal Bulletin’. The Bulletin will be undertaken in the form of a ‘newsletter’ written for a publishing business informing and educating their readership on topical labour law issues, academic opinions and recent case developments.  The question will be released by 4 March 2021.
  • Research essay: Students must complete either a research essay or a law reform proposal on an area related to the subject matter of the course (the legal regulation of work, care, and gender). Students will be provided with guidance to develop their own research question, and this must be approved by 26 March 2021.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

  • Completely answers the question.
  • Contains striking originality of approach or analysis.
  • Demonstrates exhaustive or innovative research (where independent research required).
  • Exceptionally well written, structured and expressed.
  • Is otherwise exceptional in some way.


75 - 84

  • Completely answers the question.
  • Achieves a critical and evaluative approach to the issues.
  • Content and structure is well organised in support of the argument.
  • Demonstrates extensive research and analysis to support a well-documented argument.
  • Generally well expressed and free from errors.
  • Has a clear structure and is well articulated.


65 - 74

  • Covers main issues fairly well in answering the question.
  • Contains no significant errors.
  • Demonstrates an attempted critical approach to the issues.
  • Demonstrates reasonably sound research and analysis in addressing the key issues.
  • Has a clear structure and reasonably clear expression.


50 - 64

  • Identifies the key issues, but does not follow through with a reasoned argument.
  • Contains some significant errors.
  • Displays satisfactory engagement with the key issues.
  • Offers a descriptive summary of material relevant to the question.
  • Superficial use of material, and may display a tendency to paraphrase.
  • Demonstrates little evidence of in-depth research or analysis.
  • Adequate expression.
  • Overall, demonstrates the minimum level of competence in the assessment and satisfies the requirements to proceed to higher-level studies in the degree or subject area.


0 - 49

  • Does not answer the question.
  • Contains significant or numerous errors.
  • Few or no identifiable arguments.
  • Content that is inappropriate or irrelevant.
  • Lack of research or analysis.
  • Difficult or impossible to understand through poor grammar, expression or structure.
  • Overall, does not demonstrate the minimum level of competence in the assessment.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
- Intro class Lecture and tutorial (2 hr)  
1. Work - how it is regulated; 2. Care - defining and understanding it; 3. Work, care, and gender Lecture and tutorial (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Parental leave; 2. Flexible work arrangements; 3. Equality and discrimination Lecture and tutorial (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Disability and elder care; 2. Gender pay gap 3. Men Lecture and tutorial (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Information regulation; 2. Guidance materials - regulatory role?; 3. Lessons from a pandemic? Lecture and tutorial (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Attendance is compulsory and will be recorded. At least 70% attendance is required to satisfy the pass requirements.  This attendance is to be on-line for this unit.  Failure to meet this requirement may result in the student being precluded from sitting the final assessment.

Word count penalty: A piece of assessment which exceeds the prescribed word limit will attract a penalty of 10% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment for every 100 words, or part thereof. The total word count for essay and other written assessments will exclude bibliography; footnote numbers; footnote citation; cover page and include body text; headings and sub-headings; quotations; anything other than numbers and citations in footnotes.

Referencing guide: The Sydney Law School expects you to use the referencing style provided in the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018) for your referencing.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no prescribed textbook for this unit.  All required readings are listed in the Reading Guide available on Canvas and linked electronically.  

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of how labour laws currently regulate the options, decisions, and reconciliation of paid work and unpaid caregiving in Australia
  • LO2. demonstrate an understanding of different theories of ‘care’, gender, and equality, and how these can be used to analyse our laws regulating work and care
  • LO3. understand how gender norms influence the allocation of unpaid caring and paid work in Australian society, and how this impacts gender equality
  • LO4. assess whether Australian labour laws can or should do more to support work-care reconciliation and gender equality
  • LO5. demonstrate skills in critical analysis and application of the law, and the ability to carry out independent research, engage in oral and written argument, and discuss and write clearly.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The unit has been updated.


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