Workers with family responsibilities

Implications for employers


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Content type
Research report

March 1987

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Every worker has family responsibilities, whether these involve children, the aged, or more distant relatives. Even single people living alone bring to work with them the concerns, stresses and strengths that derive from family ties. Family matters are likely to be the underlying causes of absenteeism, on-the-job accidents and low productivity in the workplace: conversely, the world of work closely affects the form and quality of family life. There is an increase in the number of dual- earning families and families in which a single parent is responsible for carrying out both work and family tasks. This situation has highlighted the need to re-evaluate social policies based on outdated assumptions of workforce participation and family composition and lifestyles. Policies are needed which will enable people to reconcile the often conflicting demands of work and family - to maintain participation in both worlds as effective parents, partners and employees. This book argues that those who own, manage and structure the places and conditions of employment share some of the broad community's responsibility for the quality and stability of family life.


  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Social Change
  • Consequences of Social Change
  • 1. Work and Family Conflicts
  • 2. The Needs of Dual-working Families
  • 3. Why Employers are Concerned
  • 4. Employer Responses to the Needs of Workers with Family Responsibilities
    • Personnel
    • Flexible work schedules
    • Leave policy
      • pregnancy leave
      • family leave
    • Part-time employment
      • permanent part-time work
      • job sharing
    • Flexiplace
    • Child Care Assistance
      • on-site day care centres
      • support for community facilities
      • financial assistance to employees
      • use by employees of child care services
      • costs
      • personal tax credit allowance
      • information and referral services
      • other child care services
  • 5. Employee Assistance Programs
    • Counselling services
    • Relocation services
    • Education and information programs
    • Benefits to employers and employees
  • Conclusion
  • List of References

Woolcott, I. (1987). Workers with family responsibilities: Implications for employers (Discussion Paper No. 14). Melbourne: Institute of Family Studies.