New reforms give parents greater flexibility at work

WORKING parents will be given rights to more flexible hours and protection from roster changes under new reforms set to be rolled out by the Federal Government this week.

Speaking to reporters during her visit to New Zealand yesterday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the changes would give mums returning from maternity leave and dads who have been caring for young children an easier transition back to the workforce.

She said there would be "an extension" of the right for parents to request part-time and flexible work that they can build around child care.

"Modern families can find it very difficult to balance the demands of work and the demands of caring for kids and sometimes, the demands of caring for older relatives," Ms Gillard said.

"We want to make sure that our workplace relations system is helping take some of the burden off modern families."

Under the changes, employers will be required to respond to all requests for flexible hours but will still have the right to say no.

The reforms make up one part of a "wider plan" which Ms Gillard said would be unveiled at a later time.

The announcement comes a week after furious single mums attacked the Prime Minister over changes to the Parenting Payment system which reduced the amount of money part-time parents could earn before their benefits were cut.



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