Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Below is my submission on the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Hours) Amendment Bill, for those who are interested.

  1. I support the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Hours) Amendment Bill for the following reasons:
  2. The past thirty years have seen a large rise in the proportion of New Zealanders participating in the workforce and a shift from a single- to double-income family. While this has increased earning power, it has also eroded other aspects of our lives - including such ordinary aspirations as having children. The conflict between work and parenthood has resulted in increased stress for parents as they struggle to juggle competing demands.
  3. These competing demands can be resolved by sacrificing children or work. This is not a choice people should have to make. Parenthood and participation in the workforce are both common components of people's life-plans. Most people want both, and our employment market should support that. If it does not, it should be changed.
  4. By giving parents the right to work part-time with flexible hours, the bill would ease the tension between the competing demands of parenthood and workforce participation. This would encourage the significant number of parents who currently drop out of the workforce to care for children to continue to participate on some level.
  5. The bill will promote the idea of work/life balance and employee-centred flexibility more generally. In some cases, employers' reluctance to consider part-time or flexible options acts as a barrier to employment. It can also lead to higher staff turnover when employees have other demands placed on their time which are incompatible with "normal" working hours, and to overwork as employees struggle to cope with extra work which could be handled by hiring additional part-time staff. Legislated flexibility for parents will hopefully change employer attitudes towards employee flexibility in general.
  6. The bill recognises the value of parenting. All other things being equal, the more time invested in children, the better. If we want in the next generation of New Zealanders to get a decent start in life, our employment arrangements must encourage, rather than discourage, this sort of investment.
  7. The government has set a goal of increasing female participation in the workforce in order to improve economic growth. This bill will help make that possible. If it results in a cultural shift among employers, it may also result in more part-time work becoming available, providing an easier pathway for those without employment to supplement their incomes or transition back into the workforce.
  8. Finally, I would suggest the following change: the provisions of the bill should be broadened to include anyone with a significant caregiving responsibility (such as care for disabled or elderly family members, or those suffering from a long-term illness). Parents are not the only people who need flexibility at work, and the law should recognise this.
  9. I do not wish to make an oral submission to the Select Committee.


Sounds good to me.

Posted by Amanda : 7/12/2005 09:22:00 PM

Likewise, I strongly agree with you. Good on you for submitting!

Posted by Matt : 7/14/2005 09:09:00 PM