Although this blog is normally my self-indulgent platform for promoting, well, me, I am more than willing to share the (very limited) limelight for examples of other people’s writing, especially when that example is well written and for a good cause.
Just like Jessica, my inaugural guest post author, I am one of those people who is part of a step-family (in fact, I’m part of three of them). When she was denied bereavement leave on the occasion of her step-grandfather’s death, she was moved to pen the following letter to the Fair Work Commission to protest the unfairness of the Australian Government trying to tell us who we should and shouldn’t consider family.
It’s hard to argue with common sense (although governments attempt it time and time again). Read on for Jessica’s thoughtful, articulate and reasonable request for change.
Recently my grandfather (technically step-grandfather) passed away after battling with Alzheimers. Upon approaching my employers to take time off to attend his funeral, I was told that I would need to take annual leave as the Fair Work Act does not classify step-family as “immediate family”. I called Fair Work Australia who confirmed this.
Luckily I wasn’t as close to my step-grandfather as I am, say, to my step-father (who raised me for 18 years), or my step-sister and brother (who I grew up with since I was 10). But according to Fair Work Australia, these members of my family, members who are as close to me as my blood family, aren’t considered under law as “immediate family”.
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, currently one third of registered marriages in Australia involve at least one previously divorced partner. So the “Fair” Work Act is excluding almost one third of the population. I was also informed that if it had been my husband’s grandfather, I would be granted the standard two days of bereavement leave; however my own step-grandfather is a very different matter.
I urge Fair Work Australia to reassess the Fair Work Act so that companies cannot use these loopholes in order to avoid providing their employees the basic rights that are awarded to “normal” families.