UPFRONT Helping hands

In today’s tight labour market, the ability to tap into the skills and energies of parents must be plus point. That’s the thinking behind new survey currently being conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Trust. Chief executive Philippa Reed says the survey asks parents if and why they wanted to do paid work after having child and what workplace measures helped them, or could help them, contribute effectively at work.
The findings from the survey www.eeotrust.org.nz/survey which concludes on September 4, will be used to create resources for employers.
In the decade to 2002, Statistics New Zealand figures show 56 percent hike in the number of women working in full-time roles and 66 percent increase in the number of women in part-time roles. Figures from 2003 showed 70,000 women wanting to work more hours. “This is large group of eager, capable workers who would like to make bigger contribution to the labour market,” says Reed. “Our goal is to work with employers so that their skills can be tapped.”
Paid parental leave is set to rise to 14 weeks at the end of this year while legislation which could require employers to consider workers’ requests for flexible working options is before select committee.
The EEO Trust points out that, from an employer’s perspective, the most frequently mentioned benefits of paid parental leave were: happier / more satisfied staff (29 percent); an increased likelihood of retaining experienced staff (22 percent); and the fact that it stops mothers coming back to work too early or before they are ready to do so (16 percent).

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