Women, work and industrial relations in Australia in 2015

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Industrial Relations, 2016, 58 (3), pp. 324 - 339
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© 2016, © Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. Industrial relations analysis is traditionally based on a consideration of how institutional actors engage with and shape regulatory frameworks and how these frameworks impact on the determination of wages and conditions at work. Undoubtedly, the institutional and regulatory architecture remain significant factors in gender equality outcomes, and in 2015 multiple government reviews and inquiries into that architecture contributed to a sense of policy flux despite few substantive changes. This article will provide an overview of those policy developments most pertinent to women and work in 2015. Specifically changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme, the expansion of Domestic Violence Leave and the implications of the lifetime income gap for women are considered. However, in addition to the overview of the policy landscape, this review emphasises that the actions of individuals also impact gender equality outcomes. An illustrative example is provided in a modest attempt to highlight the agency of individual actors and how this, in interaction with other institutional forces, shapes the broader regulatory environment.
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