There are currently two FBT exemptions currently available which relate to child care:
1. Exemption for the provision of child care facilities – a key requirement is that the employer must provide the child care facility on its business premises.
2. Exemption for contributions made to obtain priority of access – of little practical value when compared to the cost of child care itself.
It is understood that only an exceptionally small number of employers nationwide have taken advantage of the first exemption. The key requirement results in only a limited number of employers having the necessary fact pattern which makes it practical for them to provide and run a facility (being those with a large and centralised work force, located on or near premises which can in fact accommodate a child care facility). From a family’s perspective, it is often preferable to use facilities located near home as opposed to a workplace in order to meet their flexible needs (eg alternating drop-off / pick-up duties between parents).
In addition to the general impediments faced by the broader business community, the resource industry faces additional challenges given the geographical diversity of projects and also the rosters and/or shifts of the workforce.
It is clear that the measures currently included in the FBT legislation do no promote greater participation levels across the wider Australian workforce. We welcome discussion of the issue, including the suggestion of potential solutions.