Work and family

Our research expertise

Finding the right balance between work and family is an issue that affects all Australian families. Increasingly, in Australia, both parents work outside the home either in full-time or part-time employment. This affects many family issues such as childcare, parenting responsibilites, housework and employment flexibility.

Work and family continues to be a key area of research expertise for the Institute and our research has explored a wide variety of topics, including:

  • child care use
  • parental employment
  • employment transitions for lone and couple mothers
  • links between demography and parental employment
  • work-family policies
  • parental joblessness and the wellbeing of children.

Current research projects

Evaluation of childcare flexibility trials
Evaluates the Australian Child Care Flexibility Trials introduced by the Department of Education.

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)
Topics analysed using LSAC data include: school holiday child care, children's outcomes in low income families, co-parenting, children's time use and children's views of parents' jobs.

Selected publications

Employment characteristics and transitions of mothers in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
This Department of Social Services paper explores how mothers negotiate the paid labour market when they have young children, by analysing data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.

Maternal employment and the care of school-aged children
Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 16 (3), 329-349
Explores factors involved in mothers' decision-making about employment as well as child care.

Child care participation and maternal employment trends in Australia
Explores trends in child care in Australia from 1984 to 2011, for children aged under 12 years old with employed mothers.

Australian mothers' participaton in employment
Explores the characteristics of employed and non-employed mothers, to identify the factors that contribute to differing employment levels.

Did you know ...

66% of mothers with children under 15 years were employed in 2011, compared to 44% in 1981.

Find out more


Jennifer Baxter
Senior Research Fellow

Kelly Hand
Deputy Director, Research

Diana Warren
Senior Research Fellow | Senior Manager of Research and Analysis Team in Large Scale and Longitudinal Studies

More information

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