This publication contains results from the October 2002 State Supplementary Survey, Managing Paid Employment and Unpaid Caring Responsibilities, Queensland. It presents information on the labour force experience of those who currently have or have had caring responsibilities. The focus is on the use of leave and flexible work arrangements. The survey also looked at whether caring responsibilities have an impact on employment.
Topics covered include: number of people who cared for someone; type of work arrangements employees used to care for another person in the last six months; whether additional work arrangements were desired; and length of paid maternity leave.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
CARERS IN QUEENSLAND
In the six months to October 2002, an estimated 1,068,300 or 47.1% of persons aged 18 years and over in Queensland provided unpaid care for another adult or child. More than half of all females provided care (52.8%), while 41.4% of males provided care.
Of the total care provided, the majority (68.6%) was on an ongoing or continual basis. Occasional care was provided in just over a quarter of all cases (26.3%) and once only care was used in only 5.1% of cases.
For the purposes of this survey a carer is defined as any person in Queensland aged 18 years or over who, in the last six months had a child under 15 years of age, as well as anyone who cared for someone else where this care is not done as part of paid work.
Type of Care Provided
Of the care provided, 20.7% was for children aged under six and 20.2% for children aged 6 years to under 15. Elderly persons received 9.4% of the total care with a further 13.4% provided to any other person (including family members). A significant amount (36.3%) of all care was concerned with persons caring for their own children only.
EMPLOYEES AND CARING
Whether Working Arrangements Used for Caring
Nearly half of all carers (an estimated 518,700 persons) were employees in paid employment, with 73.8% of these permanent employees and 26.2% casual. Of the carers who were also employees, 36.4% had used some form of working arrangement in the last six months to help care for another person. This varied by sex and sector of employment.
Females were more likely to use work arrangements (42.0%) than males (31.2%). However, the difference between females and males appears to be significant in the private sector rather than the government or public service sector. In the private sector, 39.1% of females used work arrangements to care for another person compared to 27.5% of males. In the government or public service sector similar proportions of females and males used working arrangements to care (47.6% and 44.0% , respectively).
Type of Working Arrangements Used for Caring
Taking paid leave (45.8%) was the most common working arrangement used to care for another person, followed by using flex-time, rostered day off, or time in lieu (39.2%), informal arrangements with employer (27.3%), temporarily reducing hours of work (16.1%), working from home (15.9%) and unpaid leave (15.7%).
There were variations in the type of arrangements used by males and females. Males were more likely than females to use paid leave (52.7% compared to 40.6%), while females were more likely than males to use temporarily reduced hours (21.2% compared to 9.5%) and unpaid leave (20.8% compared to 9.1%).
WORKING ARRANGEMENTS USED TO CARE, SEX - 2002
Whether Wanted to Make More Use of Working Arrangements for Caring
Of those carers who were employees in paid employment, an estimated 68,700 (13.2%) wanted to make more use of some form of working arrangement to care for another person. This varied by sex and sector of employment.
A higher proportion of females than males in the government and public service sector wanted to make more use of working arrangements (20.9% compared to 12.6%). Females in the government and public service sector also wanted to make more use of working arrangements than females in the private sector (20.9% compared to 13.7%).
Working Arrangements Wanted
Working arrangements people wanted to make more use of included flex-time, rostered day off, or time in lieu (46.4%), paid leave (33.1%) and working from home (17.7%). The main reasons for not making more use of working arrangements were lack of adequate working arrangements (41.6%) and work commitments (25.6%).
Impact on Employment
In the six months to October 2002, an estimated 39,500 or 7.6% of carers who are employees made a change in employment in order to care for someone. Of these changed arrangements, 4.3% permanently changed usual start time or finish times, 3.2% permanently reduced the number of hours and 1.3% changed jobs.
On the other hand, an estimated 32,700 or 6.3% of carers who are employees were unable to make a change in employment because of their caring responsibilities. Of the changes wanted, 3.6% were unable to change the total number of hours worked, 2.4% were unable to change jobs and 2.0% were unable to apply for a promotion.
In October 2002, there were an estimated 48,700 women, who were employees, aged 18–54 with a child under the age of six who had taken some form of maternity leave in the last five years. Of these, 24,500 (50.3%) had taken a mix of paid and unpaid leave during their most recent pregnancy and 17,700 (36.3%) had taken unpaid leave, with 66.0% of the women taking more than 26 weeks leave.
Of women who had taken maternity leave in the last five years, 67.6% had returned to work by October 2002, 17.2% did not return to work and 15.2% were still on maternity leave. Of women who returned to work, 43.2% were in exactly the same job with the same employer, 43.6% were in the same job with the same employer but with reduced hours, 2.5% with the same employer but in a different job and 6.9% with a different employer.