Small firms, the paid maternity leave debate in Australia and the business case

Barrett, Rowena & Mayson, Susan (2008) Small firms, the paid maternity leave debate in Australia and the business case. Equal Opportunities International, 27(3), pp. 276-291.

View at publisher

Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the management of maternity leave in small firms and particularly to explore the perceived costs and benefits of paid maternity leave (PML). PML is a universal right in some countries (i.e. the UK), but not in Australia where most private sector female employees only have access to 12 months unpaid maternity leave. It also aims to explore how the business case for (or against) PML is constructed in small firms.

Design/methodology/approach The study was limited to smaller firms operating in the business services sector in the same regional area. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with eight employers and female employees in six of these firms. Analysis by theme was undertaken within and across interview transcripts.

Findings Not one of these small firm employers offered PML and the cost of doing so was not considered to outweigh the benefits already realised through the (legislated) unpaid maternity leave scheme. In these firms maternity leave was managed in an informal way with notions of flexibility – give and take – characterising what happens.

Originality/value The paper addresses the lack of research on access to family‐related leave policies in small firms. Employer and employee views of the issue are drawn upon, the latter not often being heard. The paper contributes to understanding the construction of the business case for a specific issue in smaller firms and human resource management from a resource‐based view more generally in smaller firms.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 75422
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Small Enterprises, Australia, Maternity Leave, Human Resource Management, Women Workers
DOI: 10.1108/02610150810860093
ISSN: 0261-0159
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Small Business Management (150314)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2014 23:21
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2014 03:37

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page