Putting family before work

NZ Herald Sep 26, 2008

Many people put family first and take on only jobs that will fit in with their responsibilities at home, Families Commission research has found. And some at-home parents say they would take up a job if it allowed them the flexibility their family needed. The research, Give and Take – Families’ Perceptions and Experiences of Flexible work in New Zealand, used focus groups, case studies and a survey of 1000 people to get a family perspective on the issue.

It was carried out around the time Parliament passed the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007, which gives employees the right to request flexible working arrangements if they are responsible for the care of someone. Families Commission Chief Commissioner Jan Pryor said the study showed the benefits for families were clear. “They told us that having some give and take in their working life reduced their stress levels and improved the quality of time with their family.

More than three-quarters of those surveyed had access to or used flexible work arrangements, including being able to move their lunch break to meet their family commitments or take time off during school holidays. Four out of 10 were also able to work from home.