|Issue No 85||23 February 2001|
New Laws To Protect Carers
By Alison Peters
Employers will be required to provide workplaces where employees can take time off to care for family members, under laws to take effect next week.
The NSW Anti Discrimination Act has been amended to prevent discrimination against workers because of their carers' responsibilities.
This provision takes effect on the 1st March and brings NSW into line with other parts of Australia where similar provisions have existed for some time.
This is an extremely important advance for workers who have responsibility to care for children, elderly relatives or other immediate family members. It means that employers can no longer discriminate against workers who look after family members.
The new provisions also require employers to provide flexible work practices where it is reasonable to do so to allow workers to meet both their work and carers' responsibilities.
Unions have been promoting the need for family friendly work practices for some time. Caring for family members while working is a major issue for many union members. With 91% of two parent families having both parents work and an increasing number of people caring for other close relatives this is a good opportunity for unions to talk to members about what might be appropriate for their workplace to secure good family friendly work practices.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005