Anti-Discrimination NSW


Shifts incompatible with childcare

Conciliation: Carer’s responsibilities discrimination in employment.

Published: 18 November 2016

A nurse could not arrange her work shifts to fit in with her childcare arrangements.


The complainant was a nurse with two young children who was finding it difficult to arrange her work shifts to suit her carer’s responsibilities. She said that her employer was rostering her on days when she was unable to work due to her childcare arrangements, and giving shifts that would have suited her to casuals instead. When she wasn’t able to get a suitable shift she had to take leave. 

When she tried to discuss this with her acting manager, the manager threatened to put her in the casual pool and was abusive towards her. The complainant also approached her employer’s human resources department but did not feel she received adequate help from them either.

The employer said the nature of the complainant’s position in a 24-hour ward required full availability for any shift. They said they had tried to accommodate her needs, but could not provide an arrangement where she alone selected her shifts. They also said there were problems about her not notifying them when she could not attend a rostered shift.

The complaint was settled at conciliation when the employer agreed to transfer the complainant immediately to an area where there were no night shifts. They also agreed that they would not roster her on one afternoon per week when she did not have childcare.​

What does the law say about carer's responsibilities discrimination?
  • It is generally against the law in NSW to treat you unfairly or harass you because of your responsibilities as a carer.
  • The rules and requirements that you have to follow to do your work must be reasonable. They must not unreasonably disadvantage people with a carer's responsibility more than people without a carer's responsibility.
  • Your employer should also provide any special arrangements you need to do your job at the same time as managing your carer's responsibilities, unless this is not reasonable in all the circumstances. 

More information on Carer's responsibilities discrimination

​​​Back to November 2016 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​​

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