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Families Day 15 May 2007

Families Day 15 May 2007

May 15 is Families Day and the Families Commission would like to see celebrating families become an important event on the New Zealand calendar.

“There is a growing awareness of the importance of family and family issues in New Zealand and around the world. The international theme this year is Families and People with Disabilities. In New Zealand, one of the biggest issues facing families is work-life balance. For those with a disability, or caring for someone with a disability, work-life balance is a particular challenge, particularly if there are difficulties getting appropriate home help and respite care.” says Commissioner Sandra Alofivae.

“Families have told us that it can be a real struggle to satisfactorily balance the rewards and responsibilities of work, family, friends, culture and community. As a result the Commission has several major projects underway focused on promoting work and family life balance,” she says.

Family-friendly employers can make a real difference to people who need more flexibility at work for time to take care of family responsibilities.

There are no easy solutions, however a growing number of employers see the benefits and are providing more flexible work options and support.

The Families Commission recognises the importance of work-life balance and is marking Families Day by closing early to allow staff to take time out for themselves and their families.

Another business that supports Families Day is Pumpkin Patch which credits its success to the positive, motivated attitude of their employees. “In order for us to have a highly functioning team it is important that people have fun at work and enjoy what they do. To ensure this happens we offer flexible hours, job sharing, and provide on–site crèche. All this supports work-life balance,” says Carina Hull, GM Development.

“Families Day is a time to celebrate all that is good about families, importantly and unlike other ‘days’, there is no commercial pressure to spend money on presents, as the emphasis is on valuing what you have” says Sandra Alofivae.

A Few Work-Life Balance Tips

Here are a few ideas that families have used successfully to help even up their busy lives

- Finish work early occasionally so you can take your elderly mother/father grocery shopping, or just grab your kids straight after school for a fun event.

- Plan a Sunday lunch with the whole whānau and get everyone to share the workload by bringing some of the food and staying on to help with the washing up

- Get the kids involved around the house. If they can help make their school lunches, mow the lawns or help out with the other kids it can mean you’re able to spend more time together having fun

- Share the school pick-up with a neighbour or another parent from school. You’ll be amazed at how many other parents need help too!

- Make some sandwiches, pack up lunch/dinner and get out of the house! Take the kids to the park or the beach, go for a walk and just ‘chill out’ – it doesn’t have to be elaborate!

- Set aside some time just for you! Something you enjoy and for some people, it doesn’t mean having to take time out on your own. Activities with families and friends might be just the thing you need.

- Talk to your employer about flexible working options that might help you meet your family responsibilities


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