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Church under fire over carer time-off initiative

The Catholic Church has come under attack from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board over a decision of the Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission.

The Catholic Weekly reports that the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, the industrial relations arm of the Catholic Church in NSW, recently extended its groundbreaking personal/carer's leave provision to most of its employees with the approval of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

Unions involved also agreed to the clause.

But the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, which intervened in Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) proceedings to vary seven state awards so as to extend the leave to more employees, has objected to the wording of the new clause.

It objects to a distinction made between family and other carers.

The IRC, in its judgement, highlighted that the proposed award would grant access to all employees to support "a family member or other person who needs the employee's care and support".

It said the new award was "a positive step forward for employees working in Catholic workplaces".

The executive director of the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, Michael McDonald, said the Church had been a leader in granting carer's leave, which had been extended to its employees since the early 1990s. It was concerned, he added, to uphold its views on marriage and family.


Catholic Weekly