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Unit of study_

LAWS6344: Work, Care and Gender

Intensive June, 2023 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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
Assignment hurdle task Short assignment (short-release) (35%)
Short written assessment - problem questions and persuasive essay
35% Week -02
Due date: 11 May 2023 at 17:00

Closing date: 18 May 2023
3000 words / 9 working days
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Research essay (65%)
Written assignment
65% Week 04
Due date: 09 Jun 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 23 Jun 2023
5000 words / 6 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

Short assignment (short-release) 35%:  Students must provide short answer responses to problem questions and a related persuasive academic essay, based on the first two days of materials and discussion.  The questions will be released on canvas by 5pm (Sydney, Australia time) on 29 April 2023 and will be due at 5pm (Sydney, Australia time) on 11 May 2023. The outcome of a grant of special consideration application may include an alternative task, at the discretion of the Unit Coordinator. 

Research essay 65%: Students must complete a research essay on an area related to the subject matter of the course (the legal regulation of work, care, and gender). The essay questions will be released on canvas at 5pm (Sydney, Australia time) on 28 April 2023 and will be due at 11:59pm (Sydney, Australia time) on 9 June 2023.  The outcome of a grant of special consideration application may include an alternative task, at the discretion of the Unit Coordinator. 

Use of editors or proof-readers:  The use of assistance in preparing and editing assessment tasks in this unit of study is strictly prohibited. Assistance includes human and automated writing tools (not including spell checking). 

Word Limit 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 the short assignment and research essay will include all words, including footnotes and any bibliography (if required).

Assessment requirement to pass a unit of study: A student must make a genuine attempt at all assessment tasks set out in this Unit of Study in order to obtain a Pass mark and grade (or above); otherwise an Absent Fail grade will be recorded as the student’s result for this Unit of Study.

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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The late submission of a piece of assessment, which has not been granted an extension, will attract a penalty of 10% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment per calendar day or part thereof. For example, a submission after (due time) but by 11.59pm on the due date will attract a 10% penalty. A submission after midnight of the due date for submission will attract a 20% penalty. A submission on the following day after midnight will attract a 30% penalty, and so on. Late penalties will be strictly applied. The date and time of submission as recorded by Canvas is taken as the official and final record of a student’s submission.

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 Seminar (2 hr)  
1. Work - how it is regulated; 2. Care - defining and understanding it; 3. Work, care, and gender Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
4. Equality and discrimination; 5. Men; 6. Parental leave Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
7. Disability care; 8. Aged care; 9. Flexible work arrangements Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
10. Gender pay gap; 11. Information regulation; 12. Positive duties Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: All students are required to attend 70% of classes to satisfy the pass requirements for each unit of study.  Failure to meet this requirement may result in a student being precluded from sitting the final assessment.  

Referencing: The Sydney Law School expects you to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018) for your footnoting style, and a link to the library website where this is set out comprehensively is available at  


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. critically analyse how labour laws currently regulate the options, decisions, and reconciliation of paid work and unpaid caregiving in Australia
  • LO2. critically analyse different theories of ‘care’, gender, and equality, and how these theories can be used to understand Australian laws regulating work and care
  • LO3. Critically analyse 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 could and should do more to support work-care reconciliation and gender equality
  • LO5. demonstrate a high level of 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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