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Journal cover: Employee Relations

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Online from: 1979

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Work and family balance through equal employment opportunity programmes and agreement making in Australia

Document Information:
Title:Work and family balance through equal employment opportunity programmes and agreement making in Australia
Author(s):John Burgess, (University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia), Lindy Henderson, (University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia), Glenda Strachan, (Department of Managment, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)
Citation:John Burgess, Lindy Henderson, Glenda Strachan, (2007) "Work and family balance through equal employment opportunity programmes and agreement making in Australia", Employee Relations, Vol. 29 Iss: 4, pp.415 - 430
Keywords:Australia, Equal opportunities, Family friendly organizations, Women workers
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/01425450710759235 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to assess the ability of formal equal employment opportunity (EEO) programmes and workplace agreement making to facilitate work and family balance for women workers in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach – This article uses documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews in six Australian organisations that are required to develop formal EEO programmes.

Findings – Formal EEO programmes and agreement making are limited in their ability to promote work and family-friendly arrangements at the workplace. Informal arrangements and managerial discretion are important in realising work and care balance.

Research limitations/implications – The paper is Australian based, and the case studies were confined to six organisations, which restricts the findings.

Practical implications – Leave and work arrangements need to be required within agreements and EEO programmes. Most programmes gravitate towards minimum requirements, hence, it is important to ensure that these minimum requirements provide for work and care reconciliation. Programmes beyond the workplace, such as funded childcare, are important in this context.

Originality/value – The article highlights that formal mechanisms cannot achieve work and care reconciliation for women workers if they are built upon very limited minimum requirements, are voluntary and are dependent upon a bargaining process at the workplace.

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