Families at work


A fundamental social transformation in recent decades is the increased participation of mothers in employment. Most families are dual-earner households, where both mothers and fathers face challenges in meeting the dual demands of parenthood and employment. Thirty per cent of parents report high levels of conflict between work and family roles.

This innovative pilot research will bring together intervention expertise on parenting, organisational management and workplace health promotion to design new approaches for supporting the health and wellbeing of parents who are also employees, in the early years of parenting. We address a priority goal of the Australian Human Rights Commission by seeking sustainable ways that workplaces can support parents, promoting gender equity.


  1. Establish research partnerships with 2-3 industry partners
  2. Conduct scoping research to inform Families at Work intervention design and content
  3. Conduct a nationwide survey of employed Australian parents. This survey will report on current uptake and use of formal and informal flexible work arrangements used by parents; and how they are related to parent mental health and wellbeing.
  4. Apply for competitive (C1) grant funding to conduct a formal evaluation of Families at Work.


La Trobe University

  • Amanda Cooklin (Principal Investigator)
  • Jan Nicholson
  • Naomi Hackworth
  • Shannon Bennetts
  • Stacey Hokke
  • Sharinne Crawford


  • Lyndall Strazdins, Liana Leach (Australian National University)
  • Angela Martin (University of Tasmania
  • Rebecca Giallo, Cattram Nguyen (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)
  • Nerida Joss (University of Melbourne)


Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area (La Trobe University, 2016-18)