Submission on balancing work and family

A submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Human Services Inquiry


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April 2005

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This submission focuses on recently analysed data held at the Australian Institute of Family Studies that can assist policy makers in their task of developing supports for parents balancing work and family. The submission is structured into three chapters, and a closing summary, designed around the Inquiry's main questions. In the first chapter titled 'The financial, career and social disincentives to starting families or having more children', data from the Fertility Decision Making Project are discussed, focusing on data about people's priorities, achievements, ideals and expectations around fertility decisions. Chapter 2 is titled 'Making it easier for parents who so wish to return to the paid workforce'. It uses mostly unpublished Australian Bureau of Statistics data to discuss employment outcomes, pressure and supports for mothers and fathers. In particular, the differences and similarities between single and couple mothers are drawn out. Also discussed are some recently analysed data about elder care. Chapter 3 is titled 'The impact of taxation and other matters on families in the choices they make in balancing work and family life'. It discusses part of the data from the Institute's recently completed Family and Work Decisions Study to focus on the extent to which mothers understand their entitlements to government payments and their interaction with paid employment.