Vol. 38 No. 3 2012
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ItemGender pay equity in Australia: where are we now and where are we heading?(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012)In this article we consider the current trends in gender pay equity in Australia, identifying the lack of improvement, and indeed the recent deterioration, in the national gender wage ratio. We analyse the gender wage gap by industry, State, and labour force status and consider developments in the regulatory sphere and social context which have the potential to have an impact on gender pay equity. We conclude with a discussion of the future prospects for the gender wage gap.
ItemPrivate retirement savings in Australia: current policy initiatives and gender equity implications(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012)This article assesses the implications for gender equity of three recent policy initiatives on superannuation in Australia: (i) government co-contributions for low-income earners; (ii) an increase in compulsory superannuation contributions from 9 to 12 per cent; and (iii) the pending introduction of ‘MySuper’ accounts, specifically designed for those who do not take an active interest in their superannuation accumulation. Implications for gendered patterns of superannuation coverage and superannuation accumulations are considered. The conclusion is that while the first measure may have some beneficial outcomes in terms of gendered patterns of accumulation, none of the three measures appears to deal with issues associated with gendered patterns of access to occupational superannuation.
ItemWorking time and managing care under Labor: whose flexibility?(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012)Since the Labor Government’s election in 2007, debate around working-time flexibility has continued unabated. Employers argue that increasing employer-orientated flexibility through changes to minimum working-time standards and individual flexibility agreements is the path to enhanced productivity and a more effective economy. Unions and others have focused on the need for greater employee-orientated flexibility to facilitate combining work and care. However, on neither side of the debate has much attention been paid to basic principles that might inform working-time regulation in ways that would enable individual workers to manage their work and care responsibilities better and deliver a more sustainable and gender-equitable economy. The article outlines recent contestation around flexibility and argues that without ensuring adequate minimum working-time standards for all workers, the gendered divide around work and care will continue to be reinforced.
ItemMaternal employment and childcare in Australia: achievements and barriers to satisfying employment(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012)The Australian Government has begun effecting significant changes that focus on the provision of high-quality, accessible early-childhood education and care (ECEC). This approach is twofold: it recognises the continual increase of maternal employment and its value to the productivity of Australia, and the importance of the early years of life. This article examines the significant changes made to ECEC policy and highlights some key areas of concern for parents, and mothers in particular, as they make plans for entering (or re-entering) the workforce. These areas of concern are likely to have an impact upon children, families, and the productivity agenda.
ItemPaid parental leave: first birthday policy review(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012)Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme commenced payments on 1 January 2011. In this article we provide an overview of the scheme in its first year of operation, drawing attention in particular to one major extension of the scheme (to fathers and partners) and one ongoing limitation. We argue that while not perfect in design, the introduction of a government-funded paid parental leave scheme has shifted the policy context and policy debates in Australia: where there was no scheme prior to 2011, there is now a functioning scheme; where there was opposition to government-funded paid parental leave just a short while ago, there is now support for it from all major political parties.
ItemGuest editors' introduction to the Special Issue(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012)This Special Issue of the Australian Bulletin of Labour is edited by the Australian Work+Family Policy Roundtable (W+FPR). The W+FPR exists to translate good research into action. There is a great deal of research available about work and family issues in Australia and around the world, but it is often poorly reflected in public policy and practice. This is a concern, given that work and family policies affect the well-being of millions of people. In this context the goal of the W+FPR is to propose, comment upon, collect, and disseminate research to inform good evidence-based public policy and practice in Australia.