This writer knows that getting women back to work is dependent on more than cheaper childcare. What we really need is leave to go to swimming carnivals, op shops and to fight with our partners…
The Productivity Commission’s report into childcare was tabled in Parliament on Friday.
The 1000-page report suggests that changes to childcare affordability would see a 1.2 percent rise in female work participation, bringing 16,400 workers back into the workforce and boosting the economy by $1.3 billion in the first year alone.
I think we can do a lot better than that. Don’t you?
There’s a great un-tapped army of female workers out there who would happily work more hours if the right Leave Entitlements were in place.
Here are some late recommendations for the Productivity Commission to consider, incorporating case studies from our qualitative research team.
Proposal 1: Head-lice leave.
Case study 1: Kate* has three children.
Two of them are girls with thick and/or curly hair. Head-lice treatment must be repeated at least three times for every outbreak. Her husband could help, but he’s always at work.
Ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away is not an option for Kate’s family.
They have tried this before and it results in a phone call from the school, resulting in lost productivity for the children.
Recommendation: 3 days head-lice treatment leave per year for the first child, with an extra day for subsequent children. A full week off work and a free hair straightener if Mum has caught head-lice too.
Proposal 2: Op-shop leave.
Case study 2: Sandra* loves to browse the op shops when her children are at school. It’s a bit like meditation for her.
She can’t go op shopping on Saturdays, because she’s always rushing around to different kids’ sporting activities. She can’t go op-shopping on Sundays because the op shops are closed.
She can’t take the children with her, because they complain about being bored.
Sandra especially enjoys buying clothing two sizes smaller than her actual size.
This has benefits for her health and fitness motivation. Fit people are more productive.