Australia needs to maintain its workforce participation as the population ages.
Many woman of child-bearing age find the costs of workforce participation too high and the difficulties of juggling parenthood and work excessive.
As a society, we need to make their workforce participation easier. Both employers and governments should be seeking to ensure that both work and family is possible.
The group of policies needed to support women with family aspirations or responsibilities in the workforce include:
- Access to paid maternity leave
- Reasonably priced and quality child care
- Support for breastfeeding, and
- Flexible work arrangements
This submission notes that many large corporations that are members of the BCA already provide paid and unpaid parental leave and flexible work arrangements.
The government’s proposed scheme acknowledges the social and health benefits of supporting women to have children, and goes some way to addressing the disadvantages women experience in having to bear the costs of taking time off work themselves.
The proposed parental leave scheme is a sensible start and a development well overdue.