Value judgment set to
Eleven areas of reform have been identified in a new report from the Australian Human Rights Commission to help value unpaid caring more in Australia.
help unpaid carers
Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick released the report, Investing in care: Recognising and valuing those who care, saying proper reform could remove the lifelong disadvantage experienced by many people who cared for others.
Ms Broderick said the majority of caring in the community was undertaken by women and the current superannuation, taxation and employment systems severely disadvantaged them.
“People who make the valuable contribution and personal sacrifices of caring for parents, in-laws, children, grandchildren and others in our community with disability, chronic illness or frailty due to old age are penalised by a system that does not recognise this invaluable personal and socio-economic contribution,” Ms Broderick said.
She said 2009 statistics showed 5.5 million women and men between the ages of 15 and 64 undertook unpaid care in Australia.
“The failure of our superannuation and taxation systems, alone, to recognise this contribution and provide a value for this unpaid work means that carers – mostly women - who have had long and repeated absences from paid employment, find they have negligible retirement savings and indeed, often retire in poverty,” she said.
“Considering the contribution these people have made to our economy by undertaking this unpaid work, it is time we changed this outcome.”
Ms Broderick said the report was intended as a discussion paper that would kickstart consideration of potential policy reforms in Australia.
“There is no single initiative that will solve this problem – we will need a combination of reforms to achieve change in relation to unpaid caring,” she said.
“Our report suggests 11 options for policy reform drawn from research and analysis of a range of mechanisms and models used to value unpaid caring work, in Australia and another 24 countries around the world.
“The report advocates evidence-based options for reform concerned with strengthening and further developing legislation, flexible work arrangements, income support, leave arrangements, resourcing of services, workplace initiatives, workplace culture, and the retirement incomes and savings system.”
The Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s report can be accessed via this PS News link.
Edition 347, 5 February 2013