Management at the Bayside Council in Sydney’s south-east recently raised the ire of parents when they sent an email to their staff saying “working from home and supervising home learning is not permitted.” The email was in response to an extended lockdown announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (July 8) parents were told to “make other arrangements for their children’s supervision or take annual or long-service leave.”
The council’s anti-child attitude jars in these times when most employers and employees have been quickly adjusting to pandemic-induced lockdowns and generally pulling together.
Parents have shown great good will when it comes to doing two jobs at once, or three or four… Yes they can take the zoom call and supervise schooling, and why not peel the spuds with one hand and fold the washing with the other? As we’ve seen in previous lockdowns, parents do actually make a fist of multi-tasking. After all it’s a skill that’s been finely honed for years, particularly by mothers.
I’ve also observed businesses where bosses have had to bring their children into work, as well as the employees, and where all of a sudden, there is an attitude of cheery acceptance of this changed work environment. When the barrier between work and home breaks down, it is often the case that the mutual need to care for our children brings about an atmosphere of camaraderie. There’s nothing like being behind the barricades together to make everyone concentrate – and continue to work. The Bayside Council might look to reports which clearly indicate that productivity under lockdown conditions has continued to thrive unabated.
Hopefully the narrow-minded attitude of the Bayside Council is an exception. But in these stressful times, if similar cases emerge, we should be quick to pounce and call out workplaces which discriminate so unfairly against the average, battling family in the middle of a not so average, pandemic.
This article has been prepared for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice regarding your specific circumstances, please contact Workplace Resolutions directly on (03) 5499 6131 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org