Release type: Media Release

Date:

Launch of Fresh Ideas for Work and Family program

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, today launched the Rudd Government’s $12 million Fresh Ideas for Work and Family program.

This national initiative will provide grants of $5000 to $15000 to help small businesses to implement practices that will help employees to balance their work and family obligations and improve employee retention and productivity.

The Rudd Government understands that despite good intentions, often small businesses do not have the time or resources to implement family friendly workplace policies.

The Government’s Fresh Ideas for Work and Family program is designed to encourage and support small businesses in developing innovative solutions to the work and family challenge.

Applications for grants are now being invited from eligible small businesses. Applications for the current funding round will close on 24 April 2009.

Successful applications will be those that benefit both the employer and employees, demonstrate long-term sustainable outcomes for the business and have the potential for wider application to other businesses.

From 1 January 2010, the program will also ensure experts are available in each state/territory office of Fair Work Australia, to provide support for small businesses seeking to implement family-friendly arrangements in their workplace.

More details about the program, including the application form, guidelines for applicants and terms and conditions, are available at www.deewr.gov.au/freshideasor by calling the Workplace Infoline on 1300 363 264.

The Rudd Government has demonstrated its determination to support Australian families in balancing their work and family responsibilities.

Under the Government's new workplace relations system each parent will be entitled to separate periods of up to 12 months' unpaid parental leave.

Alternatively, one parent may request up to an additional 12 months' unpaid parental leave. This means families will be able to have one parent at home with a child for the first two years of their child's life.

The Government’s new workplace relations system will also ensure parents have a 'right to request' flexible work arrangements to assist with caring for children under school age.