Flexibility

Content:

• Flexibility at work
• Flexible working hours
• Home based work
• Job sharing
• Part time work
• A career brake
• Short-term Absences for Family and Community Responsibilities

Workplace flexibility polarizes opinion; it is either a necessary prerequisite to survival in the global market or a means by which the rights of workers are eroded. The difference comes from a lack of shared understanding of the concept. Organizations need to get to grips with flexibility, not only to address business problems and cope with legal regulations, but also to respond to thhe pressures of workforce diversity and labour market tightness.
Flexibility at Work brings clarity to this misunderstood subject. It shows you how to obtain the business benefits of flexibility through an approach which addresses the needs of both employer and employee.
Flexibility can reduce costs, improve quality and service, increase productivity, hedge against change, and meet supply needs.

Flexible Working Hours allow employees to better manage their personal and business commitments by varying their working hours. Flexible Working Hours allow moore flexibility in attendance patterns and the use of flexitime credit to take time off or days off to meet specific personal needs, without reducing other leave credits. Flexible Working Hour arrangements are not an entitlement, a right or an ob

bligation and can only be entered into by mutual agreement. Possible benefits for the employee from flexible working hours are:
– provides for family friendly work practices by allowing employees to meet dependant care responsibilities
– enables employees to combine work with other responsibilities and interests
– allows for greater job satisfaction because work can be completed when motivation and energy levels are high
– reduces the need to take leave without pay and other leave provisions
For the employer:
-increases ability to adapt staffing levels according to seasonal demand and customer requirements
-increases staff motivation and commitment because staff needs are met
-increases competitive edge in attracting and retaining employees
-improves customer service through flexibility in staffing arrangements
-reduces absenteeism
-reduces overtime costs
-accommodates the vaarious needs and circumstances of employees

Home-Based Work (HBW) enables employees to do work from home that would previously have been done in the workplace. Usually, under HBW arrangements, employees will work a proportion of their normal weekly hours of duty at home. The agency or an employee can initiate a HBW proposal which should be considered on a case-by-case basis. A written agreement should reflect the approved arrangements. It is important to note that home-based work is not a su

ubstitute for childcare or dependent care arrangements. HBW is not an entitlement, a right or an obligation and can only be entered into by mutual agreement.
Possible benefits for the employee from the home-based work:
-provides greater ability to combine work with other responsibilities and interests
-provides greater autonomy, responsibility and control
-provides an opportunity to phase in retirement
-provides an opportunity for people with special needs to arrange their work time to accommodate those needs, and
-there may be fewer distractions when working from home
Possible benefits for employer:
-increases productivity and efficiency
-increases motivation and commitment because employee needs are met
-reduces absenteeism
-reduces accommodation costs
-reduces work station costs
-increases employee retention rates
-improves returns on training investment
-accommodates the various needs and circumstances of employees
Suitable opportunities for home-based work Home-based work may be particularly suited to employees or positions which do not need close supervision or interaction with other employees. Home-based work can be considered where there would be no detriment to the work team or the work being undertaken, and communications and work quality would not be disadvantaged.

Job sharing is an arrangement in which two or more people share one full-time job, each working part ti

ime on a regular ongoing basis.
Because each job sharing arrangement is different, the agency needs to make decisions about the design of each arrangement. The details should be included in a written agreement between management and the employees concerned. Job sharing can be adapted to a variety of circumstances because arrangements are individually designed to suit the needs of the organisation, the job sharers and the nature of the job. Ultimately the agency must be satisfied that the job sharing arrangements will not adversely impact on the delivery of their services. Job sharing is not an entitlement, a right or an obligation and can only be entered into by mutual agreement. There are three different forms of job sharing, each with differing characteristics which make them more or less suitable to particular jobs. Types of job sharing
1. Shared responsibility
Two employees share the responsibilities of one full-time job. Together the two employees perform the full range of tasks within a single position. There is no division of duties. This arrangement is most suited to ongoing, rather than project-based work. Well matched partners are essential to the success of this type of arrangement.
2. Divided responsibility
Two employees share one full-time position and di
ivide responsibilities between them. This arrangement is useful when work can be easily divided by client group or project, and may be utilised when job share partners do not know each other well.
3. Unrelated responsibility
Two employees perform completely separate tasks, but generally work in the same agency. In essence, this is two part-time jobs. This is most suited to situations where partners do not have similar skills or expertise.

Part-time work is work that involves less than the full-time hours for the job. Part-time work is one of a range of flexible working options which can be negotiated between an employee and an employer to help workers better balance their work and personal lives. Regular hours are arranged at mutually agreed times. These details should be included in a written agreement. Permanent part-time work is a part-time job that is intended to continue. Temporary part-time work is for a specified period. Part-time work is not an entitlement, a right or an obligation and can only be entered into by mutual agreement.

A Career Break enables employees to take leave for an extended period with the right to return to a job at the same level. Leave to cover a career break may be made up of accrued entitlements such as recreation leave and/or long service leave and/or a period of leave without pay. Employees might take a career break to engage in full-time family responsibilities, study or travel. Employees are encouraged to keep in contact with their employers during their break to keep abreast of current workplace issues and changes. This can be achieved via regular communication conferences, internal training and seminars, and/or by receiving regular workplace newsletters. Employees on a career break may return to full time work for short periods to cover the leave of other employees, or in busy periods. Career Break arrangements are not an entitlement, a right or an obligation and can only be entered into by mutual agreement.

Part-year employment offers employees a number of weeks unpaid leave per year. This means that employees work an agreed number of weeks per year, with an agreed number of week’s unpaid leave. Some employees may wish to work on a part-year basis in order to accommodate a need for leave during school vacation periods. However, part-year employment need not be restricted to providing leave during school vacation periods. Part-year employment is different to a Career Break in that it is pre-planned a number of years ahead and is likely to be for a shorter period than a career break. Part-year employment is not an entitlement, a right or an obligation and can only be entered into by mutual agreement.

Short-term Absences for Family and Community Responsibilities. A short term absence from the workplace is approved leave of a number of hours or days to allow employees to meet family demands or community commitments. Options available for short term absences some short term absences will depend on a rearrangement of working hours, while others will depend on the utilisation of current leave provisions. Employees who need to be absent from the workplace to meet family or community responsibilities have access to current leave entitlements. Employees who need to be absent from the workplace for only a few hours may make up this time either earlier or later on the same day, or during the following week or month. Use of existing flexitime provisions that allow for flex days to be accrued, can also be used for purposes such as the care of sick dependants, planned family and community service activities.

Flexibility at Work brings clarity to this misunderstood subject. It shows you how to obtain the business benefits of flexibility through an approach which addresses the needs of both employer and employee.

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