With the majority of Australian Defence Force members in a relationship how families experience Defence life matters – not just to families but also the ADF. So it’s with interest that I look at the data from the 2019 Defence Census to find out how the ADF workforce is working, and what implications it has for partner employment.

ADF family policy acknowledges that service in the ADF places unique demands on Defence members and their families. The policy states “the nature of Service life and the commitment required of Defence members may impose restrictions, pressures and difficulties on their families not generally encountered in the civilian community”. It goes on to say that “The ADF acknowledges the positive contribution that families make to the morale, performance and retention of Defence members“.

The working arrangements of ADF members heavily influence families and may dictate how much time members dedicate to their other life roles including their caring and domestic responsibilities. In turn, the distribution of domestic and caring work in families may influence how partners engage in paid work. As the OECD reports “the gender gap in unpaid care work has significant implications for women’s ability to actively take part in the labour market and the type/quality of employment opportunities available to them“. We know that the disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work borne by women is a contributor to the gender pay gap. We also know that providing men with access to flexible working arrangements and encouraging its uptake is integral to progressing gender equality in the workplace.

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The report related to this post can be found here