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Posted December 22, 2009 by

Flexible Jobs Help Australia Avoid Recession

When it comes to how flexible jobs (Click here) can have a positive impact on the overall economy and employment marketplace, the United States could learn something from Australia.
The World of Work Report 2009, a recent report on global labor markets from the International Labour Organization, found that several employment policy initiatives have helped to minimize job losses in Australia during the current global financial crisis.
Australia is one of the few countries that has managed to stay afloat despite the global economy. Part of the reason for that is the country’s passage of the Fair Work Act 2009. Without that, employment would have declined by 1.3 percent from 2008 to 2009.
Just like the United States, Australia also had an economic stimulus package of its own, which focused on social assistance for targeted groups; supporting consumption through support for home buyers; infrastructure spending; skills and training; and job search assistance.
But it was more than an economic stimulus that helped Australia’s economy avoid its own recession. The report noted that a combination of fast economic response, targeted labor market programs and adaptable employment practices helped to support employment and minimize job losses.
One of the most effective practices was an effort by businesses to change working arrangements, including implementing reduced hours and job sharing, to avoid making layoffs.
“Business also deserves a lot of credit for their actions during the downturn,” Jason Clare, parliamentary secretary for employment, said. “Many have gone to great lengths to keep their staff on, moving staff to flexible working arrangements like part-time work.”
However, the report notes that a premature withdrawal of public stimulus funds and employment initiatives could lead to a slowdown in growth and the loss of 100,000 jobs. As long as that is avoided, companies that have demonstrated flexibility and innovation will definitely see the rewards.