List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that, as a matter of priority, the Australian Government include new questions in the Census and/or new regular surveys of a representative group of workers to determine the extent, nature and effects of the interaction of work and care responsibilities across Australia. This data collection project should survey workers every five years with the aim of:
analysing the extent and nature of the interaction of work and care responsibilities across Australia, with consideration of particular subgroups including (but not limited to):
type of care;
extent of workforce participation; and
generating data to allow extensive analysis of the work and care system, and how it affects outcomes for working carers.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Australian Government develop an analysis of care work classifications and wage structures to systematically address underpayments and lift wages in the care sector. Such an analysis should:
consider the variability and value of work across the care sector;
establish the interrelationships across care types; and
recognise the inherent value of care work.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the Australian Government amend the Fair Work Act 2009, including section 65 of that Act, to:
make the right to request flexible work available to all workers and to remove the stigma attached to its use when confined to carers;
replace the ‘reasonable business grounds’ provision at section 65(5) under which employers can refuse a flexible working arrangement, with refusal only on the grounds of ‘unjustifiable hardship’;
introduce a positive duty on employers to reasonably accommodate flexible working arrangements;
require consultation with workers about flexibility requests; and
revise sections 738 and 739 of the Act to introduce a process of appeal to the Fair Work Commission, for decisions made by employers under section 65 refusing to allow flexible work arrangements on the grounds of unjustifiable hardship, or on ‘reasonable business grounds’.

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations investigate legislative reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009 and any other associated workplace laws, to enact a ‘right to disconnect’ from work. This right should:
enable and support productive work from home and flexibility of work;
protect the right of workers to disconnect from their job outside of contracted hours and to enforce this right with their employer;
place a positive duty on employers to reasonably accommodate the right wherever possible; and
allow employees to appeal to the Fair Work Commission where the right is not being enacted by employers.

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that the Australian Government amend the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide improved rostering rights for employees, and in particular working carers, by:
ensuring employers implement rostering practices that are predictable, stable and focused on fixed shift scheduling (for example, fixed times and days); and
amending section 145A of the Act to require employers genuinely consider employee views about the impact of proposed roster changes, and take the views of the employee, including working carers, into consideration when changing rosters and other work arrangements.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends the Australian Government amend, as soon as is practicable, the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 to legislate for a paid parental leave period of 26 weeks.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends that in the upcoming 2022-23 Budget, the Australian Government commits to long-term increases in funding to First Nations community-controlled Early Childhood Education and Care, with a particular focus on regional, remote and some urban areas.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends that the Australian Government amend the relevant Social Policy and Family Assistance Laws to ensure that First Nations people are not required to meet the requirements of the activity test in order to receive subsidised child care.

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