October 27, 2004
Benefit cuts not the answer, says union
Calls for the domestic purposes benefit to be cut in order to force solo parents out to work ignore the reality of life for working families, says Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little.
“Families need two things – a decent income and to have someone available to look after the children,” he said.
“It’s hard enough for two-parent families to strike the balance between these two demands, let alone for solo parents.”
An OECD report due out tomorrow, Babies and Bosses, is expected to recommend that the DPB be cut in order to “encourage” more solo parents into the workforce.
Mr Little said that it would be counter-productive to force solo parents out to work if it meant that their children would not be looked after.
“It probably is a good idea for solo parents to start working when their children are at school, but they have to be able to find jobs that pay a decent wage and still allow them to be available when the children need them.
“There’s no point in being a working solo father or mother if the only job you can get with hours that suit is part-time at the local service station for $10 an hour. That’s not going to feed your family.”
Mr Little said that the union had negotiated family-friendly working conditions with some employers, but they were few and far between.