From: Sunday Herald Sun
October 17, 2010 12:01AM
COMPANIES will be forced to give fathers who request it flexible working hours so that they can play a greater role at home and in child-rearing.
Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis is set to launch a major campaign to change workplace equality laws and social attitudes to enable more men to share the parenting responsibility.
Ms Ellis said after creating an equal environment for women in the workplace, it was now time to give men the opportunity to be stay-at-home fathers.
Australian companies from blue-collar industries to corporate organisations are reluctant to let men work part time. Ms Ellis said that more family-friendly working arrangements were already in place for women.
Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis saidI intend to pursue reform of our workplace equality legislation through the parliament, to achieve greater choice and flexibility for Australians of both genders.
Men can also be discriminated against in the workplace when it comes to caring for the kids
Under the proposed amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act, companies will be forced to give working fathers more flexible hours so they can take greater responsibility for child care. Men, as well as women, will now be formally protected from discrimination based on their caring and family responsibilities.
Yet-to-be-released research into Australian families by the Department of Equal Education, Employment and Workplace Relations reveals there has been a major shift from the traditional male breadwinner and a female caregiver to households in which both parents are dual income earners and carers.
Dr Graeme Russell is the author of First Time Father and a specialist on fathering. He said five years ago, his research showed that only 2 per cent of men opted to be primary caregivers, but that figure was now closer to 5 per cent.
Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis saidDespite these shifts, Australian women continue to do the greater share of unpaid caring and domestic work
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, of the 1.5 million couple families, 95 per cent of mothers worked part-time compared with 5 per cent of men.
When both parents were employed full time, mothers spent 17 hours caring for the children, more than double that of men.