Deborah Rae says families facing long rosters should think things through.
Deborah Rae says families facing long rosters should think things through.

Plan ahead to cope with long roster

IS IT possible for a family to survive when a parent is working a 28-day-on, seven-day-off roster?

Mackay Regional Social Development Centre social development director Deborah Rae said families should think and plan carefully before agreeing to a long roster.

"Families and couples will need to think carefully about what effects a long roster will have on their family," Ms Rae said.

"If the roster is 28 days on and seven days off, realistically it is likely the partner who has been away will be tired and need to rest when they have their days off.

"This may mean they will need more time alone to rest; and if their partner has been home with the kids they may also need some time alone during this week as well."

Ms Rae said sometimes the partner who was left behind would need a good support network to help them care for the children.

"They might need help from other family members, if a child gets sick, for instance."

Long rosters not only affected family life and relationships but also people's ability to commit to social activities, Ms Rae said.

"Sport, volunteer work and other social family events that require regular attendance can be very difficult to commit to for workers on long rosters," she said.

It was possible for some families to cope with a partner being on a long roster but planning and preparation were crucial, Ms Rae said.

The prospect of a 28-day-on, seven-day-off roster hasn't boded well with many Daily Mercury readers who fear the move poses a huge threat to work-life balance.

Employees of global giant Bechtel say they were recently told their current 10-on, four-off roster would change to the 28-day-on, seven-day-off scheme in the new year.

The Daily Mercury reported the roster change on Saturday after receiving a call from a concerned Bechtel employee who claimed the company had informed workers at four of its mine sites the new rosters would begin on January 2.

While the CFMEU won't enter the debate, many online readers did and few liked the idea of a 28-day-on, seven-day off arrangement.

However, BuilderBob, from Mount Pleasant, took a different view: "Sounds like a fantastic opportunity for anyone who's actually prepared to do some work..."

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