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Families more stressed than ever, report finds

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National Working Families Survey polled over 6,000 Australian parents and carers in 2024, offering comparisons to the 2019 survey.
National Working Families Survey

Parents and carers are “more stressed than ever,” a new report on working families has found.

The 2024 National Working Families Survey tracked 6,200 Australian working parents and carers between 2019 and 2024.

The survey, co-commissioned by Parents at Work and UNICEF Australia, found women “continue to bear the majority” of care and household duties, while men are less supported by employers to take parental leave.

National Working Families Survey insights

74% of women found balancing work and family stressful in 2024, compared to 57% of men.

Overall, men and women were more stressed about work-life balance in 2024 compared to 2019.

Around two in five parents and carers said they had compromised their physical and mental health to balance work and family duties.

Working patterns

One in four respondents were concerned about what their colleagues and employers might think if they relied on flexible work arrangements.

60% of women wouldn’t apply for jobs that didn’t offer work flexibility, compared to 32% of men.

27% of respondents said they’d consider a 10% pay cut to be in a business with flexible work arrangements.

Parental leave

48% of men took less than one month of paid parental leave for their last child. 91% of women took more than four months of leave.

Two in three parents who wished they could take more leave returned to work for financial reasons.

51% of men said they weren’t eligible for longer paid parental leave due to their employer’s policy. 31% of women had the same experience.

Caring roles

More men listed inflexible and long work hours as a key difficulty in balancing personal commitments with their job.

Women took on the majority of caring and household duties – nearly double that of men – despite working similar hours.

A “significant proportion” of men and women have missed out on family activities because of work.

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