Work and family balance through equal employment opportunity programmes and agreement making in Australia

John Burgess, Lindy Henderson, Glenda Strachan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this article is to assess the ability of formal equal employment opportunity (EEO) programmes and workplace agreement making to facilitate work and family balance for women workers in Australia. Design/methodology/approach - This article uses documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews in six Australian organisations that are required to develop formal EEO programmes. Findings - Formal EEO programmes and agreement making are limited in their ability to promote work and family-friendly arrangements at the workplace. Informal arrangements and managerial discretion are important in realising work and care balance. Research limitations/ implications - The paper is Australian based, and the case studies were confined to six organisations, which restricts the findings. Practical implications - Leave and work arrangements need to be required within agreements and EEO programmes. Most programmes gravitate towards minimum requirements, hence, it is important to ensure that these minimum requirements provide for work and care reconciliation. Programmes beyond the workplace, such as funded childcare, are important in this context. Originality/value - The article highlights that formal mechanisms cannot achieve work and care reconciliation for women workers if they are built upon very limited minimum requirements, are voluntary and are dependent upon a bargaining process at the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-430
Number of pages16
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Equal opportunities
  • Family friendly organizations
  • Women workers


Dive into the research topics of 'Work and family balance through equal employment opportunity programmes and agreement making in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this