Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dads with Babies Are Tired in the Workplace

It's time to start thinking about Dads also. In these times, Dads are becoming more engaged in their children's lives, often experiencing similar fatigue to that of their partners. After all, they sleep in the same house! Here's some stats we found:

Because of interrupted sleep, 75% of working fathers with 12-week-old babies report fatigue at least some of the time, substantially more than the general population, of which 22% to 48% reports fatigue, according to Gary Mellor of Southern Cross University and Winsome St. John of Griffith University, both in Australia. Because of possible workplace-safety issues, employers should give serious attention to the fatigue experienced by male employees during early fatherhood, the researchers say.

Source: Daily Stat

Monday, December 12, 2011

Women Rising to the Challenge

workingwoman-smallUniversity of Queensland (UQ) graduate and academic, Dr Kate O'Brien and UQ graduate (and Associate Professor at Monash University) Associate Professor Karen Hapgood are raising awareness of the universal issues facing professionals, particularly females, who work part-time.

Although the numbers of women in science and engineering courses and postgraduate studies have increased markedly in recent decades, women tend to leave these professions at greater rates than men, a phenomenon often referred to as the "leaky pipe."

Dr O'Brien and Associate Professor Hapgood believe removing the barriers to part-time work and career interruptions are vital for addressing this problem.

As a lecturer within UQ's School of Chemical Engineering, Dr O'Brien has recognised a need for more family friendly practices within the workplace, so that women (and men) who work part-time or take time off to raise their families can still remain engaged with their profession.

"Although the university sector is commonly perceived as a very flexible work environment, like many other professions the paradigm is full-time, continuous employment, Dr O'Brien said.

"Those who do work part-time generally do so in isolation, with few role models."
Formerly a male dominated career path, engineering has seen a marked increase in recent years in the number of female enrolments.

In 2011, the number of female students enrolled in UQ's Bachelor of Engineering stood at 19%. UQ's percentages are even higher in specific engineering disciplines.

As a top specialisation for enrolments of female students, Chemical Engineering and related specialisations stands at 40%, meanwhile Environmental Engineering is approximately 60%.

While there is a lot written about trying to get more women in science and engineering, there is very little written about working part-time, a key factor to retaining women in these professions.

In order to address this, Dr O'Brien and Associate Professor Hapgood wrote the article 'Part-time balance', which was published in the journal, Nature. "It takes a lot of courage to work part-time within a full-time environment and encourages those doing so to keep finding ways to make the system work for them, all the while recognising the obstacles they face," Dr O'Brien said. "While focussed on academia, the article will have relevance for those working part-time in many other professions.

"It is much easier to work part-time when you are well established in your field. However in professions with long training times, like academia, it's difficult for women to become well established before they have children."

For women who want to re-enter the workforce in a part-time position, Dr O'Brien advises them to be strategic in how they undertake this unusual career path. "Although challenging, it is possible to pursue a part-time career in scientific research while devoting time and creative energy to raising children," Dr O'Brien said. "Choose a role that lets you maintain and build your skills and define your success on your own terms."

Source: Get Media

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 2011 Top Earning Jobs for Women

For the third consecutive year Forbes has compiled its annual list of the best-paying jobs for women, putting the spotlight on the occupations where women can, and do, earn the most - and HR managers came in at number 10.
The list was compiled using US data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and based on the median weekly earnings of full-time workers in 2010. Forbes discovered that the technology and health care sectors were the top earning industries.
It was noted that women still earn an average of 81.2% as much as men and remain concentrated in unskilled sectors, such as administrative assistants, cashiers and retail workers.
Francine Blau, a professor of labor economics at Cornell University, said she believes the gender pay gap may be higher among doctors and chief executives due to factors like specialty type, self-employment, industry and firm size.
She commented that while these occupations feature a wider range of pay, if men earn more of the outlying, mega salaries, it could bring the male median up.
Blau cited continued discrimination as a factor in the pay divide, and told Forbes, “Not only are women less likely to make it to those upper ranges [of a profession] because of promotion gaps, when they do get there they are less likely to be paid fairly.”
The top 10 earning jobs for women in 2011 were:
(Values represented in US$)
No. 10: Human Resources Managers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,170
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $60,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 71%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 80%
  • Last year's position: dropped off
No. 9: Computer Programmers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,177
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $61,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 22%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 95%
  • Last year's position: No. 7
No. 8: Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,184
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $61,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 97%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: unavailable
  • Last year's position: dropped off
No. 7: Physical Therapists
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,208
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $63,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 62%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: unavailable
  • Last year's position: new this year
No. 6: Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,415
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $73,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 30%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 82%
  • Last year's position: No. 4
No. 5: Computer Software Engineers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,445
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $75,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 21%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 91%
  • Last year's position: No. 5
No. 4: Lawyers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,461
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $76,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 35%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 77%
  • Last year's position: No. 3
No. 3: Chief Executives
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,598
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $83,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 26%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 72%
  • Last year's position: No. 1
No. 2: Pharmacists
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,605
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $83,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 48%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 83%
  • Last year's position: No. 2
No. 1: Physicians and Surgeons
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,618
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $84,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 31%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 71%
  • Last year's position: No. 6

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Diversity Dilemma

Gender imbalances are still plaguing Australian businesses.
HC mag interview Naomi Simson from Red Balloon, David Bowsher from BBC Australia, Rowan Arndt from NAB and Abby O'Neal from the Melbourne Business School.

As seen on

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Encouraging Participation in Playgroups after Returning to Work

Often Playgroups will fold when one or both parents return to work. Whether there is financial stress and mums and dads need to work, the reality is, at some point, they will return to work. How do you keep Playgroups going and providing a platform for the children to interact in a healthy environment after returning to work? Here are some suggestions that might help:

1.      One thing our mother’s group did was put together a contact list, with everyone’s work schedules captured so when organising events and catch ups everyone could be accommodated. It’s important to consider everyone in the group and do your best to accommodate.  We started running two catch up days a week instead of one so if a mum missed the Tuesday group because she was working, she could come along to the Friday group. 

2.       You could start a ‘working parents group’ instead of a ‘playgroup’ if everyone has gone back to work.  This could include movie nights, Sunday brunches with kids, book clubs (for both children and adults). Weekends are a nice time for families to get together and give the kids a chance to play with their friends and engage in activities.

3.       Start an email newsletter to keep in touch. This would be particularly helpful for those that haven’t been able to be accommodated into a playgroup since returning to work. It’s a way to make them feel included in what’s going on and welcome if and when their situation changes.

4.       Another option is to be creative with the location of playgroup. Hold it at a shopping centre, someone’s home, community centre or a park.

5.       Splitting playgroups into smaller groups at different times could also work. Allocating two timeslots - or more if a larger group - will make each playgroup smaller to begin with but will allow openings for new families and allow intimate interaction for a while with the few families that attend. Sometimes it’s nice to interact within a smaller group, which often encourages the children to play with different friends.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The EOWA (Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency) held its Business Achievement Awards recognising organisations that are achieving in the areas of diversity and supporting the advancement of women in the workplace. 

Congratulations to EOWA 2011 Business Achievement Finalists and Winners announced Wednesday by EOWA Director Helen Conway and the Minister for the Status of Women, the Hon Kate Ellis who celebrated with ‘the best of the best’ organisations showcasing their efforts in advancing women in the workplace.  Key themes that were acknowledged and lauded across the field included promoting gender diversity, support offered to parents returning to work and creating flexible work practices. 

The Education Sector romped home with the awards this year with the University of WA, Australian Catholic University and Catholic Education Office – Adelaide picking up 3 of the 6 awards and the Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Wollongong was also a Finalist. Mums@work would like to acknowledge all the finalists and winners of the 2011 Awards. 

A special congratulations to mums@work clients and supporters; Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Wollongong, Westpac Banking Corporation and Henry Davis York.

We hope to spread the word about the great work these organisations are championing and acknowledge the hard work and dedication they have put into to make a difference to the lives of working parents.

2011 EOWA Business Achievement Awards
Summary of Finalists 

Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women
Sponsored by Australian Industry Group
Ralph Norris (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
Deborah Waterhouse (GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd)
Karen Spiller (St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School)
Alan Robson (The University of Western Australia) WINNER
Gail Kelly (Westpac Banking Corporation)

Diversity Leader for the Advancement of Women
Sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Helen O’Brien (Catholic Education Office – Adelaide)
Kerry Thomas (L’Oreal Australia Pty Ltd)
Philip Jones (Maddocks)
Sally Macindoe (Norton Rose Australia)  WINNER
Katie-Jeyn Romeyn (St Barbara Limited)

Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (<800 employees)
Sponsored by IBM Australia
Amgen Australia Pty Ltd
ASX Limited
Catholic Education Office – Adelaide - WINNER
Henry Davis York
ITC Limited

Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (>800 employees)
Australian Catholic University Limited - WINNER
Corporate Express Australia Pty Limited
National Australia Bank Limited
Stockland Development Pty Ltd
Westpac Banking Corporation

Outstanding EEO Practice for the Advancement of Women in a Non-Traditional Area or Role
Sponsored by ExxonMobil Australia
Downer EDI Ltd
National Australia Bank Limited - WINNER
Rio Tinto Iron Ore
St Barbara Limited
James L. Williams Pty Ltd

The Minister's Award for Outstanding EEO Initiative/Result for the Advancement of Women
Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Wollongong
CSL Limited - WINNER
Hayman Island Great Barrier Reef
The University of Sydney 

For more info on the EOWA, visit

Monday, November 7, 2011

Million Dollar Mums a Myth?

Costs of raising a family, including childcare has been a hot topic of late and is a real issue families need to think about, given these financial times. Recent figures have shown that the foregone income for a family with three children (lost through one parent taking time off to raise the family), is over a million dollars.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. In Chanel 10’s program THE PROJECT, Emma Walsh, Director of mum@work says mums don’t need to give up their careers to raise a family.  However, she acknowledges it's a real challenge and to make it work, it is a matter of getting the right support, planning in advance and communicating effectively.

“The real concern is childcare costs.  Some parents can find themselves paying out as much as $4000 a month pre-tax; and with a $7000 cap on the Federal Government’s 50% child care rebate, some parents find themselves going backwards fast. Not only is this de-motivating, it’s unsustainable. To avoid this, mums AND dads need to do the sums, plan ahead and ‘think smarter’ about how they can return to work by negotiating better flexible work arrangements with employers. It’s not always easy, but it can be done,” assures Emma Walsh.   

It is worth noting that Australia is well behind other OECD countries in the work flexibility debate. According to Walsh, employers need to be more lateral thinking with their workplace practices, rethink job design and be more adaptive and open to using technology better to deliver more productive outcomes that create a win/win for all.  “They risk losing valuable talent if they don’t adapt. Whilst mums and dads should create a plan for how they’d like to work, they should also consider the business impact and propose some solutions to how the job could be made more flexible – it’s about focusing on what can be done flexibly rather than entirely focusing on the negative. Too many parents - when negotiating flexible work arrangements - are ill-prepared. They should seek out support to plan for the conversation with their employer if they feel a lack of confidence.  When making ‘flexibility’ work the responsibility doesn’t fall entirely on one or the other,” says Walsh.

Statistics show that working dads in this generation want to spend more time with their children and are also experiencing the need for different working conditions. When asked about ‘sharing’ the parenting role with fathers, Walsh acknowledged that there are a lot of dads now stepping up and taking on some or all of the primary caring role, but Australian workplace cultures have been slow to adjust to this fact and more needs to be done to encourage organizations to support working dads with the juggle. 

Walsh believes, “For a lot of mums, it’s about taking the leap and asking for help. A lot of us want to be the ones doing everything; the pick-up, the drop off, pleasing the boss, doing the shopping and the housework and we have to realise we can’t do everything ourselves because we’re not super-human.  We need to discuss and plan with our manager how to work flexibly and share the load with our partners, friends and family, where possible.”

This means effective communication is critically important between employers and mums & dads for the family unit to be able to function well and cope with the many and varied demands of juggling raising children with work.

View the full interview on THE PROJECT (Friday’s episode - 4th November – segment ‘super mums’)

If you’d like support in your return to work or as a representative from an employer’s perspective, want to know more about how to implement Family Friendly solutions into your organization, contact mums@work.
See our Working Parents Toolkit

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Career Development a shared responsibility

A common fear for parents when they return to work is that they may be sidelined for promotion or marginalized, especially if they choose to work part time. Your fears might be real or perceived; the only way to find out is to ask. Yes, ask.

If you are focused on the next career step and promotion (or not as the case may be), be upfront, so your manager knows your intentions and aspirations rather than leaving them to guess or assume.  Be proactive and review your career plan; discuss options with your manager, partner and other relevant people to support your continued learning and development.

It’s also important to back your self - the reality is if you don’t have confidence in your own capability or can’t articulate your career intentions then it’s harder for your manager and others to back and support you. 

In other words, no one can give you confidence or develop your career for you, you need to nurture and develop it (leaning on others around you for input and support as required). It’s about harnessing your strengths and drawing on your experiences so you can put your best foot forward whether it’s about negotiating a pay rise, the next promotion, or flexible work arrangements. If you undersell yourself and your capability, you not only do yourself a disservice, you effectively permit other people to stereotype you or discriminate against you. Your level of job satisfaction is likely to take a nose dive.

Organisations Found 'Career After Kids' seminars and Stay-in-touch Coaching empowered their working parents

2011 has seen mums@work help many parents return to work successfully through the Career After Kids (CAK) seminars and our Stay-In-Touch coaching service. Encouragingly, many more organisations signed up their working parents to attend the quarterly seminars in 2011 demonstrating that the drive to better support working parents continues to be topical and relevant since the introduction of paid parental leave.

Director of mums@work, Emma Walsh says that “organisations are increasingly recognising that paid parental leave alone isn’t enough to make returning parents feel supported and equipped as they tackle the challenges of work and raising family. Rather it’s the chance to connect with other working parents and having access to coaching, while on leave and once returned, to discuss ways to manage the work life juggle, that makes all the difference.” 
All the parents who attended CAK seminars this year left with a sense of empowerment, a return to work plan and ideas about how to achieve their successful return to work.

Organisations have already started booking their working parents in for next year's 'Career After Kids' Seminars. Tuesday 21 February 2012 is the first one scheduled for Sydney for next year.
Contact Elysha to reserve up to 5 places for your organisation now, to avoid disappointment, as places are booking up fast.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What do Women Want?

Men seek money and progression, women want culture and flexibility. Fred Van der Tang, CEO of Randstad, said in the face of the Australian skills shortage, the results of this Randstad survey should push Australian companies to assess their ability to attract talent.

Men and women are from different worlds when it comes to job-hunting, new research has revealed. A survey of 7,000 Australians found male jobseekers look for money and career progression, while women look for a strong workplace culture, flexibility, convenience and development opportunities.

“Our employer branding research demonstrates the need for a measured approach to talent attraction,” said Randstad CEO Fred van der Tang. “It is important for employers to recognise that men and women often have very different requirements and it is wise to focus on applying this knowledge through the entire hiring process—from preparing the job description and writing the job ad to conducting the final interview.”


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Gender Diversity Journey - Glass Ceiling to Glass Cliff?

mums@work are big advocates of gender diversity and having women in senior roles in the workplace as we have seen the value to women and families, but most of all businesses. Our biggest value-add to employers is helping them to 'know' what to do to encourage women and those with families in the workplace, and how to do it. We can build the strategies you need to retain your valuable employees through the many life changes, women in particular, experience.

HCMAG reported recently that although women make up 52% of the population of Australia, 46% of the workforce, and in recent years, 56% of university graduates, women hold only 2% of CEO and 10.7% of senior management positions in ASX200 companies. Perhaps more disturbingly, according to research by Mercer, despite growing interest in workforce diversity among organisations in Australia and New Zealand, only 1 in 4 (26%) have a clearly defined strategy to attract and retain women long enough to reach senior leadership positions.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce commented in a recent article by HR Daily that HR alone can't be responsible for increasing gender diversity in organisations, but it should drive the first phase of the journey.

Launching MCC in Sydney yesterday, convenor and Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said that one reason many initiatives to progress gender equality have not delivered is that "they focus solely on engaging and changing women - from the way women network to the way women lead. Too many organisations look to women alone to change the organisational practices that maintain the status quo."

"Without the avid support of men - who currently dominate the leadership group in most large businesses and control most of the financial and other resources - substantial progress is unlikely. Creating change therefore requires men to take the message of gender equality to other men. It requires men to get on board, to take action and to encourage their peers to do likewise."

Megan Dalla-Camina, Director of Strategy for IBM Australia and New Zealand says Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world for too long in most aspects of gender equity, whether that be paid parental leave, numbers of female employees/managers/executives, and women on boards. While there are some marginal improvements, much more needs to be done.

"For Australia, this is an economic imperative, especially in light of the ageing workforce and skills shortages," she said.

Of course, not every woman desires a job at the top or has the skills to pull it off, so it's about identifying the right people for senior leadership roles and ensuring they get to where they are needed in an organisation.

Both articles go on to outline steps in detail of what organisations can do to begin the journey to gender diversity. The HCMAG article in particular elaborates on what women in leadership, or those who pertain to leadership roles in the future, need to be doing to be successful in their chosen career path.

Read more on HCMAG's article...
Read more on HR Daily's article...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Leading Business Women call for childcare tax deduction

Did you know? Childcare remains the second biggest expense after the mortgage for Australian families.

Leading business women and academics plan to advise the upcoming Tax Summit that childcare is the biggest and most directly related cost to earning income and should be eligible for a tax rebate.

Rosemary Howard, Executive Director and Conjoint Professor at AGSM said the cost of childcare is prohibitive and it affects not only low-income families but well-paid women in executive roles. “The lack of financial support for working families, in the form of childcare incentives, is an impediment to women’s participation in the workforce, particularly when it comes to advancing women into leadership roles and at board level,” she said.

Rosamund Christie, program director for the Women in Leadership program at AGSM agreed. Christie said “Tax-deductibility of childcare ought to be a right. Our economy depends on a fully functioning workforce and – however it gets that – it should be supported,.” she said.

Additionally, Judith MacCormick, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Australian School of Business, said that Australian is using an out-dated business structure, and this is the underlying roadblock toprohibiting governmental tax breaks.

Read the full story...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Questions from mums & dads returning to work: Childcare

Q. What advice do you have for parents looking for childcare? I've heard it's extremely hard to "get in". How do you secure a place at the centre you want?

Visiting and talking to the carers will be your best chance of finding the perfect place for your child. If possible try to drop into the centre or Family Day care home outside of your appointment time so that you can see how things “really” work and try to visit at a couple of different times of the day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re entrusting these people with your baby.

There are more options out there than just day care centres. The most common types of care available in Australia are:

·         Private arrangements
·         Family day care
·         Centre based child care or long day care
·         Occasional care
·         Pre-school
·         Nannies, au-pairs, babysitters
·         In home care

Planning is the key to a successful placement and you should start this planning well in advance of you needing the care.

Here are a few points to consider when thinking about each option:

·         Do you want individual care for your baby?
·         Will the carer be able to meet my child’s individual needs?
·         Is cost a factor in your decision?
·         What skills does the carer possess? Eg. First ad certificate, qualifications in child care.
·         What sort of interactions will my child have with the carer?

Women are not filtering up: Business leaders

The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) hosted its first annual diversity debate last week, with the topic, ‘Quotas: friend or foe of business?’ hotly debated by high profile business leaders.

At the end of the debate the room of industry heavyweights, which included representatives from business giants such as IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers, voted that quotas, (not just targets) for women on boards should be mandated by the federal government.
Advertising executive and lecturer, Jane Caro, said companies with a greater proportion of women on their executive and at board level perform better. Caro said while Australian women were amongst the best educated in the world, they ranked somewhere near 50th in the world for workforce participation.

'Mindless Bias' holds women in check

The report, commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, urges companies to look ''below the surface'' at ''irrational'' bias against women, arguing not only that they are excluded from leadership roles but are also ''held to account for being women''.

According to the government's latest census of women in leadership, last year females made up just 8.4 per cent of directors and 8 per cent of executive managers in ASX200 companies.

The report calls for companies to adopt a range of reforms, including making their workplaces more flexible and setting targets for gender diversity.

Read what Kate Ellis, Minister for Status of Women, says...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Paid Dad Leave from 1 January 2013

On 1 January 2013, the Paid Parental Leave scheme will be extended to give extra support to new parents with two weeks Dad and Partner Pay. 

A dedicated payment for dads under the Paid Parental Leave scheme will encourage fathers to take some time off after the birth of a child, and help ensure that paternity leave is seen as a normal part of work and family life.

The Government recognises that the involvement of fathers in children's lives has many positive benefits for children including improved social and emotional development.

Find out more...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2011 'Dream Employers' Revealed

CEO of Insync Surveys James Garriock said that theoretically employees should be the biggest advocates of the organisations they work for, because they can help win new customers and attract new talent – yet employers are wasting these opportunities. If organisations harness the word-of-mouth power of their passionately engaged employees, the bottom line impact can be potent.

The second annual survey canvassed the opinions of more than 7,000 Australians, and as the title suggests aims to uncover both specific organisations as well as areas which the workforce considers ‘dream’ working conditions.

The research showed that just 40% of all employees are satisfied with their job, 45% are planning to look for another role within the next 12 months and just one third (33%) were willing to recommend their employer.

Heading the list for the second time in a row was Google, followed by Self-employment, Virgin Group, Qantas and Apple. The desire for people to work for themselves appears to be increasingly strong, with many dreaming about the perks of saying goodbye to structured work environments.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How common is it for mums to feel guilt?

How common is it for mums to feel guilt?
This is one of the many questions we have been asked from putting your kids into childcare to asking colleagues to pick up the slack at work.
Here's how I would advise women to overcome this guilt.
Mothers guilt is the most common feeling experienced by mothers, especially those returning to work! Mothers guilt is a part of becoming a mum and is experienced by all mums at some stage. But do not fear. You are not alone. We meet a lot of mums who are anxious about returning to work and are unsure of how to go about selecting the right childcare for their child/ren.
We find with the right knowledge and support, working mums can make wise decisions and work out a plan that suits them and their family. With some ideas about how to make working flexibly work for them and their employer with the tools to negotiate with their employer, often mums can reduce the guilt associated with colleagues having to pick up the slack.
So, ask for help, share the load with other mums, friends and family and know that there will almost always be an imbalance and that's ok. We are not superhuman. Everyday is a new day and at times the demands of work and life (particularly parenting) will collide and one will take preference of the other and vice versa; that's life. It's ensuring overall you maintain a happy, healthy equilibrium and if not, isolate what's getting in the way and deal with it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cost of Childcare to rise, employees left holding the bag

We at mums@work thought this information on the latest childcare cost changes might be helpful to you.

The federal government has announced plans to cap childcare subsidies. The government has said families paying for 10 hours of childcare, four days a week will be hit by the cap. The cuts have reportedly been made in order to provide additional early education teachers in childcare centres, and the minister for childcare, Kate Ellis said the costs will only amount to an extra $8.67 a week by 2014-15, per child in full-time care.

“There are absolutely no cuts to childcare funding; in fact there has been a 72% increase in the amount of funds available to Australian parents to help them meet the cost of childcare,” Minister for Childcare, Kate Ellis said.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Communications Minister says send staff home to work!

Businesses must change their attitudes about people working from home and use the internet to connect employees through "telework", the Minister for Broadband and Communications Stephen Conroy has announced.
The federal minister said Australia is lagging behind other developed countries in harnessing the internet for business and needs to catch up. Australian statistics are indeed at odds compared to other nations, with the ABS recording that 6% of employees from Australia have a degree of telework arrangements with their employer.
Read how this compares with other countries...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Workplace skill shortages - is your organisation being caught short?

The latest L.E.A.D. Survey pinpoints the extent of the skills shortage problem – around two-thirds of organisational leaders, managers and employees can identify skills shortages in their own workplaces. That's two in every three workplaces operating with a workforce that does not have the right mix of skills to function effectively!
Disturbingly, beyond the expected shortage in technical skills related to specific industries and sectors, two of the top six areas of skills shortage relate to leadership and management – two areas that are often under-resourced in terms of ongoing learning and development…and two areas that are often considered of secondary importance in the hunt for skilled personnel. Read more...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Making Work/Life Flexibility Work

A recent survey by the Flex+Strategy Group on work/life flexibility revealed:
  • Eleven percent of respondents said that their use of work-life flexibility increased and 76 percent said it stayed the same during the recession.
  • Sixty-six percent believe employee health, morale and productivity suffer as a result of having no work-life flexibility.
  • Those who worried about making less money due to improved work-life flexibility decreased from 45 percent in 2006 to 21 percent this year.

Are your employees seeking work-life flexibility? While having flexibility in when, where and how you work is increasingly becoming the norm at companies of all sizes, a new study, the Work+Life Fit Reality Check, reveals there are still some roadblocks in the way.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paid Parental Leave - 1 July 2011, what Employers need to know

As of 1 July 2011, employers will now be responsible for the administration of paid parental leave payments to employees under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010.

You must provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee who:

  • has a child born or adopted from 1 July 2011
  • has worked for you for at least 12 months prior to the expected date of birth or adoption
  • will be your employee for their Paid Parental Leave period
  • is an Australian-based employee, and
  • is expected to receive at least eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay.
More information...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Understanding why women decide not to return to work

A UK study and report conducted by an executive search agency and employment law firm in April 2007 revealed that organisations continue to struggle to retain top female talent despite 39 weeks statutory maternity pay, additional maternity leave benefits and extended worker’s rights in applying for flexible working arrangements, (introduced under the UK’s Work and Families Act.) organisations continue to struggle to retain top female talent. It seems that employers need to do more than just comply with regulatory requirements to entice women on maternity leave back to work.

These findings send and important message to organisations that to simply offer paid parental leave will not be enough to secure mums and dads to return to work following parental leave; a real concern for businesses already suffering from general labour shortages.

What must organisations do to attract parents back to work and keep them?
The 2007 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Community (HREOC) report on work life balance suggests that ‘flexibility in the workplace’ is the fundamental component in enabling workers to meet the ever increasing demands of work and family life.

Where should employers focus their efforts to best support the needs of their employees, without compromising business productivity?
Rather than trying to guess what improvements need to be made, mums@work suggest that employers go direct to the source. Ask mums and dads what assistance is most beneficial to them first and implement flexible work and parental leave policies after.

Mums@work Director, Emma Walsh states that “company’s can fail to implement feasible flexible work solutions, and risk losing its parental workforce unless they have a deeper understanding of the common issues working parents actually face, not only when they return to their job but on an ongoing basis as they juggle the demands of work and raising a family”.

For organisations to understand the needs of its working parents, employers must be prepared to openly discuss and negotiate practical return to work options that can are realistic for both parties.

This is not always easy given we live and work in an ever changing environment; what might be agreeable today, won’t be suitable tomorrow. Organisations are constantly evolving to adapt to the diversifying needs of their consumers and clients. Walsh suggests that “employers need to recognise and respond to its employees as clients and work together to continually find agreeable working solutions, otherwise they risk losing irreplaceable, valuable talent”.

As parents struggle to meet the rising costs of child care, hold down two jobs (the one at work and at home) organisations need to be prepared not only to offer paid incentives to return to work but also proactively assist employees in developing a practical return to work plan.

Book our Stay-in-touch service now to give your working parents the tools they need to return to work.

Workaholics now in pursuit of leisure - feature in Sydney Morning Herald

CATRIONA POLLARD worked herself sick. Until this year, 12-hour days and working weekends were the norm for the 42-year-old, who runs her own public relations firm. Managing staff, running a small business and meeting constant deadlines took its toll.

''The most significant thing I did was change my attitude towards work,'' she says. ''I still work long hours, but I also make time to nurture myself," says Pollard.

''Today both parents are walking out the door to work in the morning, there is no one staying home to care for family members and run the household. What we need to address that is good public policy and social systems and significant change in workplaces.''

The need for changes across the board is recognised by Emma Walsh, who set up mums@work about four years ago, a service providing return-to-work guidance for parents.

Read the whole article...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Parents Talking Career Choices to their Children!

Parents Talking Career Choices is a brochure that offers strategies for parents and carers to discuss the options available for further study and employment after school with their teenage children. It includes practical advice on how to help young people explore the wide range of job pathways and where to go for further information.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stay-at-home mothers to get back to work to prevent a labour shortage

"EU tells stay-at-home mothers to get back to work to prevent a labour shortage".

Housewives are being urged by the European Commission to go back to work the UK Daily Mail reports. In the UK around 12.6 million women work, 40 percent of them part time. Around two-thirds of working-age women with dependent children are in employment. Brussels says it wants stay-at-home mothers in Germany, Austria and Holland to take up jobs to avoid a looming labour shortage. Read more

Thursday, June 2, 2011

3 skills your working parents and their managers must develop

Want to support your working parents to thrive at work? 3 skills your working parents and their managers must develop: Resilient, Adaptive and Flexible Thinking.

Working parents need 3 core skills to ‘thrive’ at work and at home Adaptability, Flexibility and Resilience.  We’ve all heard the expression “Got a job to do? Give it to a busy person [aka: mum].” But just how much can one busy ‘hands on’ mum or dad handle before the juggling balls begin to fall and bounce all over the place? How is your corporate culture contributing to the success or failure of your working parents’ ability to respond to the ever changing needs of their family and job?

Organisations who strive to help their people achieve their maximum potential ‘get it.’ It means providing employees with the necessary tools, support and training to be Adaptive and Flexible and Resilient to cope with the ups and downs of life being a ‘worker’ and a ‘parent’. Here’s some tips to help your organisation build resilience, adaptability and flexibility amongst your working parents:

1. Find out how many parents work in your organisation (include ‘carers’ who have responsibility for others). Survey them: find out what their needs are, what they are limited by and what would make a difference?

2. Get a parental leave process and checklist in place - support employees to prepare in advance for parental leave and their return to work rather than sanctioning a ‘winging it’ approach.

3. Create a flexible work policy that has a ‘how to’ process for managers and employees which provides details on how to plan, negotiate and implement a flexible work arrangement that works for all. See our ‘Flexible Work Toolkit’

4. Build resilience by offering coaching and other training support to your working parents. See our coaching service and think about starting a ‘working parents group’ or create a Carers network.

5. Sponsor training that supports parents to develop their ‘Career After Kids ’ and keep the talent in your organisation and avoid ‘brain drain.’

6. Drive a performance culture that values flexible and adaptive thinking – clients expect it, staff want it and managers need the ‘know-how’ and encouragement to deliver it. Being adaptive is how organisations can stay ahead of the pack and this means being flexible in relation to how, when and where work is delivered and by whom. For working parents, time is always of the essence and many will strive to find more efficient and effective ways to get their job done in order to make sure they’re home in time to pick up the kids. So let them! What manager doesn’t want a more time efficient and effective employee?

7. Encourage co-operation and understanding of working parents circumstances between teams and managers. After all, every employee may find themselves in a similar situation one day where they require care or to care for another. HR play a key role in championing this co-operative spirit as they are often the gateway between employee and manager when return to work arrangements are negotiated.

8. Provide access to tools and experts to help support the return to work transition for employees and managers. See our Working Parents Toolkit and Stay in Touch Service.