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Work–Life Bill Supported by Nurses Organisation

18 March 2005

Work–Life Bill Supported by Nurses Organisation

“A Green Party Bill to allow workers with young children to have more flexible work arrangements would overcome one of the key barriers to women considering nursing as a career and attract more young women into nursing,” said Geoff Annals, CEO of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation today.

The Bill proposes that workers with young children have the right to request reduced, part time or flexible hours.

Geoff Annals said the vast majority of nurses and midwives were woman and the lack of practical child care arrangements to meet their particular needs is often cited by nurses and midwives as a reason for leaving these professions. “Women generally carry by far the greater share of parental responsibility whether or not they are in paid employment,’ said Geoff Annals.

“The difficulty of balancing this demand with work is a significant obstacle to women’s engagement in work on an equal footing with men.”

Geoff Annals said health care services had particular problems attracting and retaining young nurses and midwives.

“Nurses and midwives shortages commonly result in cuts to health services and any measure that enables workers with child care responsibilities to achieve a better balance between family and work responsibilities is a valuable business and social investment,” he said.

Geoff Annals said NZNO and DHBs would soon commence an investigation into staffing and workload problems that result in work conditions that are unsafe for patients or staff.

The objective of that investigation is to make such changes as can be shown necessary to provide safe health care services for patients and workloads that are manageable for nurses and midwives.

“Initiatives like those proposed in the Green Party bill sit alongside this very important project as a means of addressing fundamental workplace issues,” he said.

ENDS

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