Social Policy Research Paper No. 4424 February 2012
This paper uses data from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) survey to investigate the influence of work on parents' and children's wellbeing for families with children at three different points in development – infants, preschoolers and adolescents. Written by researchers at the Australian National University and FaHCSIA, the paper also looks at the effects of work for lone parent families compared to two-parent families, and ‘breadwinner' families compared to dual-earner families.
This paper goes beyond looking solely at the effects of employment compared to unemployment, or comparing different working hours and incomes; rather, it examines factors that determine the quality of working conditions such as job security, flexibility of working hours and control over work tasks. The researchers found that the quality of employed parents' jobs matter to their wellbeing, and may also affect their children's wellbeing. The paper also found that socioeconomic disadvantage is linked to poorer access to good quality jobs, and that employed mothers tend to change their working hours according to their children's age and their partners' working status, but few fathers work part-time, irrespective of their children's developmental stage or partners' work hours.
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