Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care

On 8 September 2022 the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia made a submission to the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care.

Australia needs new and bold policies to enable fair and equitable access to employment and support for care. Investing in care can generate significant social and economic benefits, including improving gender equality, women’s workforce participation and financial security.

The Academy endorsed the Work and Family Policy Roundtable (W+FPR) submission to the inquiry which made three overarching recommendations, that the Select Committee:

  1. Consider the work/care nexus from three interrelated perspectives – workers, carers (paid and unpaid) and the people and families to whom care and support is provided. It will be through such a multi-perspective approach that optimal policies will be able to be formulated, funded, and implemented.
  2. Consider strategies to sustainably fund and support a highly skilled properly paid care workforce in all relevant sectors. Employment conditions that provide job security, predictable working time arrangements, paid leaves and a living wage, lie at the heart of a robust work/care regime. Reforms are needed to ensure the system delivers for all workers regardless of their employment status, sector or gender.
  3. Take a disaggregated, intersectional approach to the impact of work/care policy on different worker and carer population groups. Any assumption in policy or practice that one size fits all must be set aside, not in order to complicate the way forward, but rather to ensure that the way forward reflects the diversity and changing nature of workers and carers in Australian society.