Friday, March 13th, 2009

The Fresh Ideas for Work and Family Grants, launched by the Australian federal government this month, provide funding of up to $15,000 for small businesses to implement family friendly work arrangements.

The grants aim to help employers attract, retain and engage valuable staff by offering employees better ways to manage their work and family responsibilities and achieve a better work life balance.

“Research shows that Australians are struggling to manage their work and family responsibilities, and for organisations, this translates into job dissatisfaction, low organizational commitment, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity and high turnover”, says Jodie Benveniste, director of Parent Wellbeing, a provider of work family solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Turnover is a major cost to business, with Australian businesses spending over $100 billion dollars per annum on staff turnover and lost productivity.

“The costs of losing valuable staff can be up to 3 times that person’s salary. Small business simply cannot afford such costs, particularly when profit margins are being cut to the bone”, says Benveniste.

“Many big businesses have recognised the benefits to the organisation’s bottom line of introducing work and family policies, but many small busineses have not had the resources to do the same”, says Benveniste.

A new major US study found that supportive work-life policies increased expected retention by 119% and workplace flexibility increased expected retention by 55%. Supportive work-life policies and perceived flexibility were also the best predicators of employee engagement.

“Big businesses can have great family friendly policies but they don’t always have a culture that supports the policies, whereas small business often has the supportive culture but not the policies”, says Benveniste.

Family friendly initiatives that help reduce absenteeism and turnover and increase job satisfaction and engagement include introducing flexible workplace policies, a return to work program, training and development on optimizing work and family, and information resources for staff and management to make better work and family arrangements.

"We are helping small businesses identify the opportunity, apply for the grant and get family friendly, at no cost and no risk to themselves.  It's a great way to become a small business employer of choice," says Benveniste.

Download Fresh Ideas Program Flyer at

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Jodie Benveniste

Jodie Benveniste has a background in psychology, academic research and human resource consulting.  She is the pioneer of a unique approach to work family issues, Work Family Flow, the author of five books, and the mother of two young children.
Jodie Benveniste
P: 08 8278 4342
M: 0412 088 804


“In tough economic times, apart from cutting costs, every business, especially small business, needs to increase productivity and get more out of its staff,” says Jodie Benveniste, director of Parent Wellbeing



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