Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Have your say on work-life balance

Have your say on work-life balance

The Government's work-life balance project has begun public consultation on an issue that touches all New Zealanders lives.

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said the aim is to gather the ideas and views of as many New Zealanders as possible about work-life balance.

Margaret Wilson said the project is not just about looking at the pressures faced by individuals. "New Zealand is facing skill shortages across all sectors of the economy. Businesses need to attract and retain the best people. Quality of life is a point of international difference we can't afford to overlook."

"We will look at what people have to say and work with key organisations towards developing some practical ways to ease pressure while boosting productivity. These solutions cannot be pre-judged - already it is clear the issues are broad and a one-size-fits-all approach is not realistic.”

Over the last six months a steering group led by the Department of Labour has been talking to different groups round the country and has set up a website The group’s case studies indicate that some of the benefits of work-life balance policies are improved recruitment and retention rates with the associated cost savings, reduced absenteeism and sick leave usage, and improved productivity.

Employers see work-life balance initiatives as a way of retaining and attracting quality staff, particularly in the current labour market. However they often do not have the time, resources or expertise to implement them.

Employees say the demands of their jobs can contribute to work-life imbalances, but there are many other factors outside the workplace that come into play. Unsurprisingly, childcare is a major issue. Less talked about are the concerns New Zealanders have about caring for aging parents.

“We started this work because there is growing local and international research suggesting that people from all walks of life experience real difficulties balancing their work, family and other commitments. Many people do not take action until there is a crisis.

“The Work-Life Balance project is not about government telling people how to run their lives. It is about asking how individuals, companies and organisations see the issue, what currently works for them, and what else could be done to improve things.

“I am encouraged with the response to the project so far. We have received some excellent examples of companies embracing work-life balance practices and enjoying the business benefits as a result. We have also heard from individuals who provide day-to-day examples of the issues they face and how they are tackling them. “For government to be able to look at what practical things can be done to support and extend good employment practice, we need as much information as possible about just what it is that matters to people. “We need the views and ideas of a wide audience, from small business people trying to juggle their time with just a few staff, people in rural areas, where home is often their workplace, the experience of older workers, and young people just setting out on their working lives. Everyone will have a view on this and everyone’s story is valuable to the debate. “ Margaret Wilson said that there were also lessons to be learnt from some of the bigger companies who have workplace practices in place that others can model. “It is not always about big, formal options. We are hearing examples of low cost – even no cost – ideas that provide good returns for businesses and individuals.” About 25 groups are actively involved with the project including Business New Zealand, the New Zealand School Trustees Association, the EEO Trust and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the Maori Women's Welfare League.

To get the public consultation off the ground, 5000 discussion packs containing 12 information sheets targeted at different audiences will be distributed to these partner organisations for circulation through their memberships. The packs contain response forms for organisations and individuals to register their ideas.

The discussion packs will be available through Citizens Advice Bureaux and on the project website Individuals can have their say online or by writing in to the project.

The launch of the consultation campaign also coincides with EEO Trust’s latest online survey which is about the impact work commitments have on relationships.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election