We have industry standards for so many things so when will government and industry get together and mandate for some industry standards in the workplaces where mobility is essential? Will mandating for industry standards actually assist FIFO workers and their families to discuss and plan for the tricky issues that crop up in all families but that seem to be exacerbated in the FIFO/DIDO family relationships? Can industry and government work with stake holders and FIFO support organisations like FIFOfamilies to design, educate and manage the changes that introduction of such standards would demand?
As FIFO becomes the work practice of more Australian’s across more sectors the need for these industry standards becomes more urgent. In 2010 Dr Anne Sibbel made the recommendations listed below in the findings section of her PHD thesis at Edith Cowan University WA. This important research is one of only a few resent research projects looking at FIFO and relationships. It dispels a lot of myths constantly being repeated in the media about FIFO workers and their families.
The Experiences and Psychosocial Well being of Western Australian
Fly-in/fly-out Employees and Partners . Dr Anne Sibbel.
In chapter 8 future directions and final words she notes the following:
“However, there are no whole-of-industry standards
that guide or mandate the extent to which individual companies implement such support
practices. As discussed in the previous chapter, the degree of support provided by
companies to the FIFO employees and their families is dependent on various company
related factors such as size, profitability and location of the mine, individual
manager/supervisor practices and each company’s philosophy and commitment to work
practices relating to the work/family interface. Many Australian families will continue to
choose the FIFO lifestyle, thus it is recommended that the resources sector representative
bodies, for example the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), develop a set of best
practice guidelines that individual companies can use as a benchmark to guide and evaluate
the development and implementation of practices and policies that best support the
well being of their FIFO employees and their families. Similar guidelines have been
successfully developed to direct resource companies’ best practice in areas such as the
employment of women (CMEWA, 2008b) and Indigenous workers in the sector (Centre
for Social Responsibility in Mining [CSRM], 2006), and thus set a precedence for
developing a similar benchmark for FIFO employment. Companies could then use these
best practice guidelines to provide regular training for supervisors and managers on the
effectively managing and working with FIFO workforces.”
Earlier discussions in her findings suggest these desired guidelines would ensure that all new FIFO employees and their families are given information that acknowledges the issues that are associated with the FIFO lifestyle. This information can then be used to assist and or support families to successfully incorporate the changes in their relationship, family, parenting and home life that the FIFO work practice necessitates.
What has been your experience of the support/standards/guidelines provided by your company to FIFO workers and their families? Has there been any and if so did they help?
This issue relates to the focus of the moment which is FIFO and relationships. Abby Chapman’s research survey once again hit the news this week calling for more participants to talk about FIFO and their relationship.