Families at work


This program of work aims to understand the role that parents’ jobs and employment conditions have on parenting, parent-child relationships and family health and wellbeing. We take an applied focus, to inform parents, workplace practice and policy development.

Combining work and family care for parents has become particularly salient since the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of this disruption on family relationships, health and wellbeing are only just being understood, and we contribute to this growing evidence, taking a gendered lens to understand this.

This program builds on our long-standing collaborations with The Australian National University, Deakin University and the Work-Research Institute at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.

Key activities in this program have included:

  1. Investigating the relationships between parents’ work conditions and work-family conflicts, using national cohort data (Longitudinal Study of Australian Children); and national surveys.
  2. Investigating the relationships between poor job conditions (e.g. work-family conflict; time-pressure), parenting and children’s health, wellbeing, social and academic development.
  3. Exploring fathers’ experiences in accessing family-supportive workplace entitlements (e.g. paid parental leave, flexible work).
  4. Industry partnerships to investigate inequities in family-supportive work conditions and wellbeing for employees who are parents/carers.
  5. A newly-funded Australian Research Council Discovery Project to explore ‘post-covid-19’ work and family life for parents; and the ongoing implications these disruptions have on family wellbeing and work.


La Trobe University

  • Amanda Cooklin (Principal Investigator)
  • Jan Nicholson
  • Stacey Hokke
  • Shannon Bennetts
  • Sharinne Crawford
  • Jasmine Love
  • Jodi Oakman


  • Lyndall Strazdins, Liana Leach (Australian National University)
  • Rebecca Giallo, (Deakin University)


  • Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (A Cooklin, 2021-25) and Discovery Project (2023-25)
  • La Trobe Research Themes; ABC Grants; and Tracy Banivanua Mar Fellowship.