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Positive changes for families welcomed

Media release
28 August 2008

Positive changes for families welcomed,

but room for improvement in work-life balance

The Families Commission welcomes the 2008 Social Report which shows positive changes for many families, but says there is room for improvement in work-life balance for many working parents.

Deputy Chief Commissioner Sharron Cole says the report is an invaluable measure of the social climate, showing where the country is doing well and where there is still room for improvement. She especially welcomes the growth early childhood education participation, rises in employment, declining unemployment, and increases in income.

“I’m also pleased to see indications that family connectedness has improved,” Sharron Cole says. “More people have reported regular contact with friends and family, and most secondary students say they have satisfactory amounts of contact time with their parents.

“This is good news when the demands of modern society mean both parents are working and still trying to find quality time with their children. For this reason we welcome the inclusion of work-life balance satisfaction in the report.”

However, the Families Commission is concerned that the report shows that those people most likely to have young families – employees aged between 25 and 49 - are least likely to be satisfied with their work-life balance.

“The Commission wants families to be able to make real choices and be well-supported in balancing family responsibilities and paid work. Access to quality flexible work is a key part of this. We are about to release new research that explores the types of flexible work arrangements that support families and factors influencing take up of these arrangements.

“This research will show that flexible work is a major factor in people’s satisfaction with their work-life balance.  Most people with a lot of flexibility were satisfied with their work-life balance whereas only half of those with little or no flexibility at work were satisfied.

“Satisfaction with work-life balance is known to be a significant contributor to employee wellbeing, staff retention and productivity in the workplace.”

The flexible work research will be released in September and provides information needed to to help families access the flexible working conditions they need. It will also identify:

·       the barriers to taking up quality flexible work

·       what will improve access to quality flexible work for families

·       the types of quality flexible work that families want.


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