Thursday, May 29, 2008

Budget 2008-09 offers small businesses support in creating a flexible workplace

I think small to medium sized businesses are doing a great job in offering work flexibility. it certainly helps that they are small enough to make decisions more quickly and they have less red tape to contend with.

The recent Federal budget has delivered a $12 million package over three years to help small businesses introduce flexible working hours and other measures to improve retention and productivity.

Small businesses will have access to grants of up to $15,000 to help meet the costs of family friendly policies.

In addition, small business will soon be on a level playing field with big business in terms of their ability to offer assistance with child care costs. Everyone will now be entitled to a 50% child care rebate paid by the Government every quarter.

I will keep you up to date on the small business grants for boosting flexible work policies when more information comes to light.

The link below outlines other budget boosts in the workplace:

Monday, May 26, 2008

20 cheap and easy family friendly ideas for your business

Becoming family friendly does not have to be an expensive process. Here are some ideas to implement straight away:

1. Schedule meetings within normal working hours;
2. Ensure your staff take their annual leave in the year that it is due;
3. Negotiate flexible start and finish times;
4. Allow staff to have a say in rostering arrangements;
5. Introduce make-up time so staff can make up hours if they need to attend an appointment;
6. Allow your staff to use their sick leave entitlements to care for family members;
7. Broaden the definition of 'family' (to include more distant relatives) for the purposes of bereavement leave;
8. Provide information on local contacts to help staff find child care, school holiday care and elder/respite care;
9. Provide an emergency phone for employees to contact family members (eg an older child sick at home);
10. Allow staff to take annual leave in single days;
11. Allow staff to use work mobile phones for emergency family reasons;
12. Discourage weekend work and staying back late in the office except in exceptional circumstances;
13. Introduce a 'keep in touch' plan for staff on maternity leave;
14. Hold a 'Bring your Child to Work' day or a family picnic day;
15. Allow leave without pay for cultural purposes;
16. Extend social events such as happy hours to families and partners;
17. Consider the needs of partners and families in any relocations and movements;
18.Introduce a workplace policy for breastfeeding employees;
19. Include a summary of your company's work and family policy in a letter of offer to new employees;
20. Put work and family issues on the agenda to discuss at the next round of negotiations for your workplace agreement.

(Source: DEEWR website)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2008-09 Women's Budget Statement

The 2008-09 Women's Budget Statement highlights measures in the budget that will assist women and their families.

Find out how the latest budget will benefit you. One of the key items is of course the 50% child care rebate paid quarterly.

Copy and paste the following URL link into your browser:'s%20Budget%20Statement.pdf

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CareerMums welcomes child care rebate announcement in Budget 08


Kate Sykes of welcomes the Government’s decision to implement a 50% child care rebate paid every three months. ‘Workplace flexibility and cost of child care prove to be a continual barrier in parents returning to work sooner. With a national skills shortage, women accounting for nearly half of the workforce, and child care costs rising by more than 12% per year, the spotlight on the cost of child care is long overdue.’

In a recent survey conducted by, over 60% of respondents said that the introduction of a 50% child care rebate would make some difference or a huge difference in terms of re-entering the workplace or working more days.

‘So many women want to return to work but have found that the cost of care, particularly after their second child, creates a situation where it is not worth it financially. This child care rebate will certainly make a difference. No doubt the government will need to monitor child care rate increases as a result of the rebate.’

‘The next step is a national paid maternity leave scheme currently being reviewed by the Productivity Commission. Australia and the USA are the only 2 countries in the group of OECD countries that do not have a formal parental leave payment system. Therefore we should be looking to other countries to understand what works successfully. Australia is where most OECD countries were 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the more advanced countries are debating if their current policies, including paying parents 26 or more weeks of paid parental leave, are enough.’

Monday, May 12, 2008

Networking - keep your contacts up to date

Networking is about connecting and engaging with people and communicating. It is an excellent way for you to gain information which will enable you to identify work opportunities. Make sure you keep your work contacts and professional network information up to date and close to you while on parental leave. Correspond with them via email or phone regularly. When you are ready to return to work, these contacts may prove to be very useful to find more flexible work or a new career path. Networking is all about staying in touch for future opportunities.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Information about employing nannies or babysitters

Thorough screening and reference checking is important to help you make the right decision when selecting a babysitter or nanny. Make sure you screen them by phone (before interview), check their credentials (durng interview) and do a reference check (after the interview). has some excellent tools and guides on their website including 'Information About Employing Nannies', 'Screening Skills' and 'Interview Guide'. Check it out.

Accredited breastfeeding friendly workplaces

A list of accredited workplaces can be viewed at as well as information for mothers and employers about breastfeeding and paid work. This is a fantastic initiative of the Australian Breastfeeding Association.