Many Australians—and most over the course of their lives—combine jobs with care of others for years, and too many are struggling with this combination. They experience time poverty, unpredictable hours of work and care, challenging transitions between work and care through different life stages, high costs, and inflexible working conditions. Many feel the costs of this combination in their household budgets, especially as inflation increases and the costs of care rise.

For the large and growing number of workers in our care industries—childcare, aged care, disability care—the burden is especially intense as they receive low pay in flat career structures in jobs that are demanding, while at the same time juggling their own care responsibilities at home. They are mostly women.

This report recommends the Australian Government take a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing the challenges of work and care in this country. The Australian Government should implement the recommendations in the committee's interim and final reports to a range of systems, including workplace relations, early childhood education and care, paid leave, disability and aged care, as well as financial supports for carers. This reform package should ensure that Australians have a right to care, alongside their right to work, and our systems and laws should provide unequivocal support for this important role through a new work and care social contract fit for the 21st century.

Related Information

Senate Select Committee on Work and Care: interim report

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