‘Gendered Work ‘Choices’: Women and Workchoices’
Flinders Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 10, pp. 315-340, 2007
26 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2009 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2007
The Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 (Cth) (“WorkChoices”) presented significant changes to the Industrial Relations regime in Australia with new statutory minimum standards in conditions of employment, a shift towards individual based workplace agreements and a complete overhaul of the administrative process. The Australian Government in enacting WorkChoices stated the need for a system that ensures fair pay for employees and flexibility in workplaces to enable employees to meet both family and workplace responsibilities. In this article we critique the likelihood of those aims being achieved. Our holistic analysis shows that the impact of WorkChoices on women is in fact particularly severe. We examine aspects of the cultural landscape, which contribute to gendered implications for workplace agreement process and outcomes. The result appears to be continued pay inequity, gender stratification–both horizontal and vertical–in the workforce and women’s shouldering of the double load with increased workforce participation while upholding their substantial family responsibilities. The findings have implications for the heralded industrial relations amendments. Evidence of Excellence is the journal’s B ranking and its focus on law reform since the authors’ research is intended to be of practical use.
Keywords: Workchoices, employees, workplaces, holistic
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