Work is a productive activity that occurs in a variety of settings. The nature of work changes over the lifespan, requiring balance with other aspects of an individual’s life. The changing nature of work-related situations requires an understanding of social change, cultural influences, economic policies and political processes that impact on work. Students develop skills necessary to manage these changes. In this module, students consider how contemporary workplace practices have evolved in response to social changes. Students gain an understanding of both the benefits of a variety of work patterns to family wellbeing and how workplace practices have changed to acknowledge the value of family life. This module focuses on the nature of work, changing work patterns, managing workplace and family roles and recognising individuals in their workplace.
The Nature of Work
Any type of activity that results in the production of goods/services. The worker receives compensation in the form of wages or profit (known as paid work). Work is also used in the context where people do things for other people for nothing (known as unpaid work).
The Characteristics of Work
* Mostly essential for survival, provides for both needs and wants. * An integral part of our lives – many activities we do relate to the work force.
* Provides income to purchase goods and services essential for survival as well as financial support for leisure pursuits. * Part of individual’s social life and contributes to status, identity and self esteem. Part of the process of socialisation. * Increased communication and interpersonal skills.
* Provides meaning and purpose to life.
Attitudes to Work
* Extension – interesting and absorbing jobs. People do not distinguish between their work and non-work (eg an artist). Work is an extension of their life. * Neutrality – workers with regular hours. They see little or no relationship between work and non-work other than an income (eg a shop assistant). * Opposition – people who try to escape from their work with non-work activities. They dislike job and only retain one as it is a means of financial support.
Legislation Regarding Work
* Annual Holidays Act 1944 – entitled to four weeks leave for every year worked. * Long Service Leave Act 1955 – entitled to various amounts of long service leave after certain amounts of time worked eg two months after ten years. * Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 – No discrimination permitted in the area of employment. * Employment Protection Act 1982 – minimum redundancy entitlements for NSW workers. * Occupational Health And Safety Act 1982 – focuses on the safety of employers and employees. * Industrial Relations Act 1991 – voluntary unionism and increased penalties for industrial action.
Definitions of work
* Historical – Work involved hard labour in a range of areas but typically workers were toiling for products such as food, clothing and shelter rather than money. The Industrial Revolution changed the way work was perceived as workers worked for a wage to make products for other people. * Contemporary – Work results in economic benefit. There are many workers whose work is not paid or officially measured (parenting, housework, school study etc).
There have been changes in the workplace, some of which are more women in the workforce, an increased proportion of part time, casual and contract work, an increase in young people working, a more skilled workforce, an increase in service industries, more flexibility in employment, more legislation supporting parents and a decreased number of union members.
Paid and unpaid work
Money attained from work is used to attain financial independence which gives us a measure of control over our lives. Paid work is a significant way of creating wealth in our society while unpaid work is also a valuable and important contributor to...