Workplace Flexibility: It’s The Law!

Workplace Flexibility It’s The Law!Workplace Flexibility Promotes Success for Parents and Employers

ATTENTION working parents!  If you need (or want) to work, you’ll know how hard it is to juggle your career and your family life.  You may not be aware that the government is on your side and has workplace flexibility laws in place that can assist you in securing a more flexible deal in the workplace.

Before you throw the towel in and consider not working at all or you start looking for a new job with flexibility incorporated from the outset, why not try negotiating for an element of flexibility in your existing position?  Flexible employment can be a win-win situation for you and your employer, your employer just may not know it yet!

Parents who are able to negotiate flexible working arrangements can achieve an improved balance between their career and their family and achieve success at both.  Employers who are able to retain skilled and motivated parents by offering them flexible job arrangements, will gain even more dedicated employees who contribute to the company’s productivity and success long term.

Parents are able to request flexible job arrangements from their employer based on Commonwealth and Victorian law.  From 1st January 2010, the National Employment Standards, states parents or carers of children under school age or of disabled children under 18 years of age can request flexibility from their employer.  More information on the Federal initiative can be found here

For our Victorian readers, your Equal Opportunity Act of 1995 further supports parents by stating that employers should attempt to accommodate requests of their employees in relation to their parental roles as long as they are within reason.  Other details are outlined in each law and further information can be found here.

Both of these laws provide a way for employees and employers to come into an agreement where both sides are able to take advantage of flexible working conditions.  While these acts do not guarantee a request will be approved, they place the onus on to the employer to prove why they cannot be granted.  Sample letters of the request and other templates can be found in this website.

The first step is to have a clear idea of what you require in order to meet the needs of both work and family.  From there create a proposal that will allow you to meet your family commitments as well as your work requirements.  This might be a flexible start and finish time or condensing a 40-hour work week into four days, or any similar arrangements.

Then the next step is to come up with a list of how you can keep motivated and organised to accomplish your tasks even with a flexible working arrangement.  Be sure to spell out the benefits the employer should expect.  The best way to put together a successful proposal is to put yourself in your employer’s shoes and evaluate how you would want your employee to perform.

The final step is to meet with your manager so you can present your proposal.  Remember, as a highly dedicated and motivated parent, you want to highlight how these changes can further enhance your performance as an employee.  Focus on your commitment to the role and your desire to achieve success for the company over the long term.

Securing a flexible working arrangement will undoubtedly provide a win-win situation for both you and your employer.  It will certainly lead to a better balance between work and family life for you and your employer can look forward to retaining a grateful, loyal and productive employee.


Leigh Grigaliunas

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

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