Without ECEC female construction workers face ongoing challenges, NAWIC notes
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has called on governments around the country to prioritise early childhood education and care (ECEC) as a policy issue to support working women.
Election promises made to families “are still falling short” of adequately supporting women’s participation in the building and construction industry, the lobby group notes, saying that the recent reforms announced by the NSW Government may still not be enough to make a difference in the lives of working women, particularly those involved in the construction industry.
While NAWIC “wholeheartedly supports” the announcement as one of the most significant reforms in recent years, National Chair Christina Yiakkoupis said the cost benefit of putting a child through ECEC versus going to work has been a barrier for women to get back into the workforce.
NAWIC was also happy to note election promises of extending the subsidy to after-hours care (ensuring this includes earlier starts from 5am and not just late afternoon hours), as well as amending legislation to include payment of Superannuation on parental leave.
Further changes, however, are needed to make ECEC a more supportive place for Australia’s working families, particularly women in the building and construction sector.
NAWIC has created a series of recommendations which include endorsing the Australian Gender Equality Council’s (AGEC) recommendation seeking free universal childcare, as well as calling on the Federal Government to amend legislation to allow for portability of parental and carer’s leave entitlements.
“We recommend the Federal Government consider innovative policies and programs that address parental leave in transitional industries with inflexible working hours such as construction, where employee’s service to the industry is recognised,” Ms Yiakkoupis said.
“This allows them to bank or transfer parental leave entitlements similar to that of QLeave, which provides an equitable and efficient system of portability of long service leave in the building and construction industry.”
NAWIC said, with Australia currently listed as 31/41 in childcare affordability, it is imperative that these reforms are made to help support women’s participation in industries such as construction.
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