Flexible work options
There are many different ways to make workplaces more flexible depending on what suits the size and nature of a business. Before implementing any changes to work arrangements, employers should check employment laws and the relevant award or industrial agreement.
Flexible leave options
Employees ‘purchase’ extra leave by having their wages reduced proportionately throughout the year. This reduces the wages bill for employers, and gives employees more time for family, leisure, study and volunteering.
Cultural or ceremonial leave
Paid or unpaid leave for cultural or ceremonial purposes enables employees from diverse backgrounds to meet their community and personal obligations.
Flexible / phased retirement
Flexible retirement is also known as phased retirement. It is any working arrangement that enables employees to modify their work hours and/or job responsibilities so they can gradually ease into full retirement at a sometimes much later date.
Flexible retirement can involve a combination of:
- part time work
- flexible and extended leave
- changing work roles or work responsibilities.
Part time work
Part time work is the most popular flexible work option in Australia. The reduction in hours can be achieved by the employee working fewer days per week, fewer hours per day, or a combination of both. Check any provisions in your relevant WA award about part time work. Visit the WA award summaries page or contact Wageline.
A part time job can be created in different ways:
- converting a full time position to part time and reducing the employee’s workload proportionately
- splitting a full time position into separate part time jobs, each with its own duties
- job sharing - dividing the duties and responsibilities of one full time job between two people who each work part time, possibly with a short overlap for handover purposes
Many senior positions can, with minimal adjustment, be successfully performed on a part time or job share basis.
Teleworking is also known as working from home, home based work, or telecommuting. It involves employees working away from the usual workplace for part of the time, on either a short or long term basis.
Key considerations for employers are occupational safety and health requirements, and business privacy and confidentiality - The Teleworking Hints and FAQs publication provides helpful hints on how to implement teleworking and make it a success.
Family friendly workplaces
Breastfeeding at work
Employers need to comply with anti-discrimination legislation that makes it unlawful to discriminate against a woman, either directly or indirectly, on the basis that she is breastfeeding.
It is good practice to take reasonable steps to accommodate breastfeeding at work. For example, where feasible the employer could:
- allow the employee to take lactation breaks in addition to normal meal breaks (if possible, two 30-minute periods in each eight hour working day is ideal)
- provide a suitable area where an infant can be fed or milk expressed, with a refrigerator for storing milk (toilets are not a suitable facility).
A family room is a designated private area that allows employees to continue working while managing short-term dependent care responsibilities. The family room can be used by employees when:
- caring for a child or dependent family member who has/or is recovering from a non-contagious illness
- regular care arrangements have broken down
- breast feeding and expressing milk
Typical facilities include a workstation, baby changing facilities, a sofa bed or cot, television, DVDs, books and toys. Family rooms must comply with occupational safety and health requirements and have public liability insurance cover.
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