Family friendly workplaces
THE recent announcement by the Government to increase the child care rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent should be a good thing for working parents, right? Not necessarily.

With the news that working families will soon receive a boost in financial help for child care, comes the more sobering realisation that child care centres could hike up fees to get their share of the pie.

Media reports have already written about one major child care organisation putting up their fees by 11 per cent, while a Sydney local government area has announced they will increase their fees by 15 per cent.

“Some (child care centres) will take advantage of this news to lift their fees higher than the CPI,” Prue Warrilow of Families At Work says. “Some parents will have to decide if they can afford child care at all and keep working, while others will have to use less child care and scramble around for informal arrangements through parents and grandparents.

“Certainly there will be increased pressure out there for working parents.”

However the news is not all bad. Warrilow says despite a lack of tax incentives for small and medium sized companies to offer onsite child care, a greater number are using information and resource services like hers to help employers find adequate child care.

“These companies need a critical mass of employers who will use these on site services before they can implement them,” Warrilow says. “And the pressure is coming, not so much from an increase in demand, but from increasing fees. Yet more companies are trying to help employers find suitable child care.”

Onsite child care for women returning to the office remains the holy grail of workplace entitlements.

A US poll found 85 per cent of employers admitted providing child care improved worker recruitment and retention. Furthermore, one third of families polled by the National Centre for Childcare Information would change companies or even take a dip in salary if offered family-friendly programs. But despite the importance of this commodity in the modern office, few employers in Australia provide it. In fact, the Federal Government’s Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace (EOWA) 2004 survey found only 21 per cent of 1744 respondents offered employees some form of assistance with child care. has compiled a list of companies that are getting it right when it comes to meeting the needs of mums returning to work. The following firms either offer childcare to staff or have HR in place that assists mums returning to work in finding a childcare placement.

Does your company qualify for this list?

ABB Australia
Austin Health
Australian Broadcasting Commission
Allens Arthur Robinson
ANZ Banking Group
Australian National University
American Express
Bluescope Steel
The Bremer Institute of TAFE
BUPA Australia Health
Clayton Utz
Coca-Cola Amatil
City of Melville (Council)
City of Port Phillip (Council)
Cuscal (Credit Union Services Corporation).
Curtin University of Technology
Griffith University
Deakin University
Department of Defence
Fairfax Holdings.
Flinders University
Flight Centre
Ford Motor Company
Greenslopes Private Hospital
La Trobe University
Lend Lease
Macquarie University
Monash University
Mt Pritchard Community Club
National Australia Bank
Overnewton Anglican Community College
Queensland University of Technology
Reserve Bank of Australia
St George Hospital and Community Health Service, Kogarah.
Shell Companies in Australia
SKM (Sinclair Knight Merz)
Staff and Executive Resources
Sutherland Hospital.
University of Adelaide
University of Melbourne
University of New England
University of NSW
University of South Australia.
University of Sydney
University of Western Australia
University of Western Sydney
University of Wollongong
Westmead Hospital

This list will remain permanently in the Library as a valuable resource to working parents. Details will be updated bi-annually. If you believe your company, or the company you work for deserves inclusion in this list, please email at