What Is Fair Work?

Fairwork Work and Family Best Practice GuideWhat is Fair Work?

How do you know what’s fair when it comes to flexibility?  Well, we’ve done some research, we’ve checked our resources and we’ve summarised out findings below.

The FairWork Ombudsman published the Best Practice Guide Work and Family and it’s a guide that helps employees understand the benefits of working with a Best Practice company.  Employers can also see the entitlements given to employees in the guide and how they can also benefit from being a Best Practice company.

Here are some of the entitlements that employees can get under the Fair Work Act 2009:

  • 38-hour work week for full-time employees together with some reasonable additional hours
  • Four weeks annual leave for full-time employees, which is pro-rata for employees that work part-time
  • 10 days personal/carer’s leave
  • 2 days compassionate leave per occasion
  • 12 months parental leave after 12 months continuous service, which can be extended another 12 months after the initial leave (this can be refused by a business based on reasonable grounds)
  • Community service leave (for any eligible service)
  • Public holidays

Finally, our favourite:

  • Right to request for flexible work arrangements provided that an employee is a parent or carer of a child under school age, or a child with disability below 18 years of age.  This can only be refused based on reasonable business grounds.

In addition, other legislation apart from the Fair Work Act 2009 also prevents parents and carers from being discriminated against in the workplace.

Employers can benefit from being a Best Practice company as they are able to retain more employees who are more satisfied with their work arrangements.  This will lead to lower absenteeism and higher productivity that immensely helps both the company and the employee.

The guide further lists the advantages for the employer when they become a Best Practice company.  It also notes that becoming a Best Practice company can be achieved by all types of businesses, large and small.  Here are some of the advantages that they cite:

  • Increase skilled staff retention
  • Attract employees with the right skills
  • Be an employer of choice
  • Increase employees coming back from parental leave
  • Improve employee engagement through increased morale
  • Reduce turnover and in turn lower recruitment and training cost
  • Reduce absenteeism and increase productivity
  • Increase company’s efficiency by retaining skilled staff

Here are also some of the policies that promote a better work-life balance for employees and make the workplace truly family-friendly:

  • Annual leave used in single or part-day periods
  • Using time off instead of overtime
  • Working more hours to make up for time off taken
  • Using accrued rostered days off by part-days or other more flexible options
  • Providing a space for employees to leave their children when at work, this can be right in the workplace or a place near the workplace
  • Providing part-time work
  • Allowing job sharing
  • Allowing Telecommuting or working from home

Overall, employers who promote a family-friendly environment benefit significantly from having more dedicated and productive employees in the workplace.  If you want to know more, check out the guides in the Fair Work webpage.  They’re fantastic and will really help you on your journey, whether you’re a business or a jobseeker.



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Yasmin Grigaliunas

Yasmin is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Yasmin's passion for helping others coupled with her desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead her to create School Hours Pty Ltd with her husband Leigh.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.
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