The BCA strongly endorses a report of the Taskforce on Care Costs (TOCC) that calls on the federal government to help workers with caring responsibilities remain in the workforce.
The taskforce today released a major report into issues facing workers with caring responsibilities to highlight the impact of caring costs on workforce participation, and to present policy options to benefit individuals, business, and the economy more broadly.
BCA CEO Katie Lahey said the TOCC’s research clearly showed costs associated with caring for children, the elderly and individuals with disabilities had a significant impact on their ability and preparedness to participate in the paid workforce.
“This is an issue that threatens to reduce workforce participation at a time when Australia needs to ensure that as many skilled workers remain in the workforce as possible,” Ms Lahey said.
“This report shows the current reality is that people are reducing their hours of work and or leaving paid employment as a result of caring costs and responsibilities.
“This is a trend that is set to continue. The TOCC research shows that 1 in 4 employees with caring responsibilities are likely to leave the workforce in the future because of cost of care issues.
“With unemployment at 30 year lows, more women than ever in the workforce, and population ageing limiting labour supply, it is important to understand and respond to the pressures associated with balancing work and caring.
“This is an issue for business and government,” she said.
The TOCC paper outlines a number of options and recommendations, including the government reimbursing 50 per cent of an employee’s out of pocket care costs for the elderly, children and people with a disability up to a maximum of $10,000 a year per household.
The paper also recommends rebates for child care should be extended to registered and elderly care.
“The options presented reflect strong views among the community about the need for more support to meet caring costs and the ways in which that support should be provided,” Ms Lahey said.
“These options are underpinned by careful analysis and designed around sound policy principles including financial sustainability, equity and choice.
“The BCA considers that the TOCC recommendations deserve the full consideration of the government and a formal response.
“The government should commit to continuing to work with the TOCC and business more broadly to ensure that caring costs and responsibilities are managed in a way that supports high levels of workforce participation, sustained strong growth and prosperity in Australia,” she said.