Something else from the now departed Green test blog: Sue Kedgley's Employment Relations (Flexible Working Hours) Amendment Bill
(I'll put up a link when it shows up on Knowledge Basket) has been drawn from the ballot. The bill
would give employees with children under five the right to request reduced, part-time or flexible hours. Employers would have a legal duty to consider any such requests seriously, and must be able to demonstrate good reasons for a refusal.
Like Big News, I think this bill is a great idea. Forcing employers to consider reasonable requests for flexibility in the case of parents will not only make it easier for people to juggle work and family, but it will also help promote the idea of work-life balance more generally. And as someone who believes that we work to live, rather than living to work, that can only be a Good Thing.
My major concern is that the bill does not go far enough. Parents are not the only people who need flexibility at work, and the provisions should be extended to cover those with (say) significant caregiving responsibility for a sick or elderly relative, or any other reasonable demand on their time. This shouldn't be just about allowing parents to participate more fully in the workforce, but about helping all of us to achieve work-life balance.
This is definitely a bill the government should support, and I'd also hope United Future comes to the party for such "family-friendly" legislation.
Update (03/04/05): Added link to bill.