The Australian Work + Family Policy Roundtable is a research network of 33 academics from 17 universities and research institutions with expertise on work, care and family policy. The goal of the Roundtable is to propose, comment upon, collect and disseminate research to inform evidence-based public policy in Australia.
In the context of the 2019 federal election, the Roundtable has produced its 5th set of federal election policy benchmarks. This election, the Roundtable has identified an overarching policy theme of Time to Work and Time to Care: Making Gender Equality Possible. This theme incorporates three main elements:
1. Increased investment in high quality integrated care infrastructure;
2. A strong regulatory system fit for purpose; and
3. Gender equality.
Seven specific policy areas have been identified that address the key contemporary issues facing workers and families in Australia as they attempt to combine work, care and family responsibilities. The Roundtable has produced a set of recommendations in each of the following policy areas:
1. Paid leave to care
2. Decent working time & job security
3. Sustainable & high-quality care services
4. Good quality jobs for the care workforce
5. Gender pay equality
6. Safe workplaces
7. Institutional support for work and care
In practice, these policies are connected and together form the ‘policy packages’ within which households make decisions about work and care. Research evidence shows that a work and care policy framework that promotes gender equality and good outcomes for households requires an integrated approach that creates smooth and secure transitions between work and care over the life course. Careful articulation between the seven policy areas is essential.