JIS News

Minister of Justice and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, has expressed the view that flexible work arrangements can have a positive impact on family life.
“Workers would be free to organise their working hours in the manner which best accommodates their family responsibilities. Workers could also negotiate with employers to complete their 40 working hours over a reduced period, thus leaving more time for family responsibilities,” Senator Lightbourne said.
The Minister, who was opening the debate on the Report on flexible work arrangements from the Joint Select Committee of Parliament, on April 30, in the Senate, noted that flexible work arrangements can also have a positive impact on the finances of the family, in this time of economic hardships. “Workers will be able to choose to work for more than one employer or different jobs, in an effort to supplement their income,” Senator Lightbourne said.
In her remarks, Opposition Senator, Ms. Sandrea Falconer, also agreed that flexible work arrangements will have beneficial effects on the family. “I think especially for women or young mothers who have children and who may not have the support to care for their children, I think a flexi work week for women in those situations is an ideal thing,” Miss Falconer said.
She further noted that there is a need to ensure that employers and workers can reach arrangements, “and we don’t have one side or the other being at a disadvantage.”
“I think one thing we can do is to ensure that the workers understand that the flexi work week is not a law, it is an arrangement and that they have rights and that they don’t have to do it. I think we can do this through our public relations campaign,” the Senator suggested.
The Flexible Work Arrangements, which had been a part of the Labour Market Reform (LMR) discussions with the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) since 1997, were approved by the House in February. The provisions address variations in hours worked each day, the number of days worked each week, as well as in the days of the week when employees work.
The Report from the Joint Select Committee was also approved by the Senate on April 30.

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