Managing Mayhem: Work-life balance in New Zealand

 Wheeled OutAccording to a newly released book 60% of men’s work in New Zealand is paid, but almost 70% of women’s work is unpaid. In a year the time spent by men and women on unpaid work in New Zealand to 2 million full-time jobs. This compared with the equivalent of 1.7 million full-time jobs in time spent in labour-force activity.

Marilyn Waring and Christa Fouché have just released a book called Managing Mayhem: Work-life balance in New Zealand. Waring and Fouché have brought together recent research on people’s struggles to balance unpaid work with paid work and still find time to live in between.
Waring, in an interview on National Radio last week, revealed that a woman’s lifetime income decreases 37% the moment she has a child, even from a temporary removal from the workforce. Meanwhile, men involved in a partnership with children increase their lifetime income by 120%.

Waring and Fouché’s book is timely given this week celebrates the 114th anniversary of women’s suffrage and also sees the Flexible Working Hours Bill continue to progress through another stage of Parliament and closer to becoming law. The right to request flexible working arrangements as afforded by the bill will be crucial for many working women who also do long hours of unpaid care work.  As CTU Secretary, Carol Beaumont, notes:

“The experience of many workers is that our long-hours culture, insecure hours and work intensification are having a negative impact on their family lives, and this is backed up by recent Labour Department analysis finding that 46 per cent of workers experience some degree of work-life conflict.”

(thanks to James @ NZ for the classic photo)


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