The ACT Government will look at formalising grandparental leave for its public servants, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today.
“As part of its strategy of retaining mature-age workers and improving family-friendly conditions and flexibility I have today asked the Commissioner for Public Administration to examine the possibility of granting unpaid leave to enable grandparents to look after grandchildren up to the age of two,” Mr Stanhope said today.
“The Government is acutely conscious of the need to maximise labour-force participation by all Canberrans, to tackle current and looming skill shortages and as an important plank in our commitment to improve social inclusion.
“I was recently asked by the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing to formally include grandparental leave among the grounds upon which ACT public servants can apply for unpaid leave of up to 12 months.
“The Commissioner for Public Administration is already examining a number of possible measures to attract and retain mature-age staff and I have asked that as part of that inquiry she look specifically at the potential for incorporating grandparental leave provisions and meet with the Ministerial Advisory Council to discuss the proposal.”
Mr Stanhope said that 2005 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that grandparents were delivering childcare services to more than 660,000 Australian children. Grandparents cared for more than half of the one-year-olds who depended on child care and almost 40% of five-year-olds.
Almost all of the childcare undertaken by grandparents was provided at no cost.
“Our ageing workforce, and our need to retain older workers for longer, means that over time we will need to provide working conditions that better suit mature-age workers,” Mr Stanhope said.
“Already, roughly three-quarters of ACT public servants are aged over 35. Indeed, only one agency has a majority of employees aged less than 35. It is crucial that we create the working conditions that will allow employees the flexibility to balance their work and home lives and it may be that access to grandparental leave will be one of the options that will allow more ACT public servants to achieve that balance.”