Labor would spend $12 million on grants of up to $15,000 to small businesses to help them build more family-friendly programs. Labor deputy and employment spokeswoman Julia Gillard made the announcement yesterday as part of Labor’s work and family program.
Gillard said providing flexible work days around 9am to 3pm and providing rooms for sick children or breastfeeding mothers were examples of how small business could improve their practices.
In a media statement, Gillard said the grants to small business would meet the setup costs of family-friendly measures such as flexible rosters, school holiday leave arrangements, family rooms and mentoring.
The funding would also pay for the distribution of business and industry specific information to support work-based family-friendly practices and ensure experts are available through Fair Work Australia offices to help small business develop new family friendly arrangements in their workplace.
Tony Steven, the chief executive of Council of Small Business of Australia, says the grants are a considerable amount of money for a small business but he would like to see exactly what the programs would look like.
“I would encourage the ALP and the Government to work closely with the small business association that already exist rather than set up their own offices. [But] the principle of encouraging flexibility within workplaces will suit not only the employee but also the small business owner.”