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This paper explores the normative underpinnings of two main sets of minimum employment standards in Australia: parental leave following birth or adoption of a child, and personal/carer's leave in order to attend to the short-term care needs of a member of the employee's 'Immediate family' or 'Household'. The paper reveals how these leave arrangements are structured around a set of assumptions about what constitutes a real family. The rules normalize a conservative form of heterosexed nuclear family, especially in relation to the care of babies, where gendered understandings of care (and work) remain strong.
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