Flexible Work

Flexible Work

SUMMARY

The Flexible Work Policy establishes the University’s approach to flexible work, including flexible work options, eligibility and considerations for staff and their managers/supervisors to enable effective, equitable, transparent and mutually beneficial flexible work arrangements.

The Flexible Work Procedure establishes the process for requesting, approving and effectively implementing flexible work arrangements in accordance with the Flexible Work Policy.

POLICY

1     PURPOSE

To establish the University’s approach to flexible work, including flexible work options, eligibility and considerations for staff and their managers/supervisors to enable effective, equitable, transparent and mutually beneficial flexible work arrangements.

2     BACKGROUND

Macquarie University recognises the importance of flexible work in maintaining a diverse, engaged and high-performing workforce, and is committed to creating a workplace where staff members are supported in managing their work and personal commitments.

Through flexible work provisions, Macquarie University strives to:

  • create a work environment based on performance, mutual achievement and trust,
  • attract and retain a diverse and high-performing workforce,
  • enable teams and individuals to work productively and deliver strong organisational outcomes,
  • improve the ability to meet the needs of our clients and stakeholders, and
  • enhance employee engagement and job satisfaction.

3     SCOPE

This Policy applies to continuing and fixed-term staff members employed by Macquarie University, including managers/supervisors responsible for approving requests for flexible work arrangements.

4     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

Flexible work: where the University and one or more of its staff members agree on changes to the standard working arrangements, including hours, patterns and location of work, to provide flexibility in meeting business needs and assist staff in managing their work and personal commitments.

5     POLICY STATEMENT

Eligibility

Continuing and fixed-term staff members may request flexible work via application to their manager/supervisor.

Reasons for requesting flexible work

There may be a range of reasons a staff member may request flexible work. Such reasons may range from caring for family members, contributing to the community, maintaining health and wellbeing, studying, transitioning to retirement or managing the amount of time spent commuting.

Types of flexible work

Macquarie University offers the following flexible work options:

  1. Part-time work
  2. Job share
  3. Compressed fortnight
  4. Flexible start and finish times
  5. Working from home/telecommuting.

Flexible work options available to individual staff may differ depending on the terms and conditions of their employment and job requirements.

A manager/supervisor and staff member may agree on one or a combination of these options as a part of a flexible work arrangement.

These flexible work options may be considered in combination with other provisions available to staff to achieve greater flexibility, including Annual Leave, Personal Leave (Other), Parental Leave/Partner’s Leave, Leave without Pay and Purchased Leave Scheme.

For more information on each type of flexible work and further requirements see the Specific Requirements below.

Duration of flexible work

Depending on individual circumstances, flexible work can be requested on a short-term (e.g. less than six months) or longer-term basis (e.g. six months up to three years).

In general, the maximum period of a flexible work arrangement will be three years.  This may be renewed following review and renegotiation, subject to required approvals.

Formal and informal flexible work arrangements

Requests for part-time work, job share and compressed fortnight must follow the formal process specified in the Flexible Work Procedure.

Requests for flexible start and finish times and working from home on an ad hoc or short-term basis should be discussed with the staff member’s manager/supervisor. An informal arrangement at a local level would be sufficient in most instances. If the request is for a longer-term period (e.g. over six months), then a formal arrangement is recommended and should follow the Flexible Work Procedure.

General principles and requirements

The success of flexible work requires a ‘give and take’ approach, open communication and a shared responsibility between staff members and their managers/supervisors.

Participation in flexible work is voluntary and at the request of the staff member.

The University is committed to ensuring that flexible work is not a barrier to career progression and promotion.

The University will review each request for flexible work on a case-by-case basis. Decisions concerning flexible work arrangements will take into account:

  • individual needs of the staff member,
  • terms and conditions of the staff member’s employment and job requirements, and
  • the operational requirements of the work area.

A manager/supervisor must genuinely consider a request for flexible work. The manager/supervisor and the staff member should discuss the request, including any alternative proposals, before the decision is made.

Agreeing to one request will not set a precedent or create the right for another staff member to be granted a similar change to their working arrangements.

A flexible work request may only be refused on reasonable business grounds, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • the nature of the work is incompatible with the proposed flexible work arrangement;
  • the new working arrangements requested by the staff member would be too costly for the University;
  • accommodating the requested flexible work arrangement will have a disproportionate impact on other staff;
  • it would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other staff, or recruit new staff, to accommodate the requested flexible work arrangement;
  • the new working arrangements requested by the staff member would be likely to result in a significant loss of efficiency or productivity;
  • the new working arrangements requested by the staff member would be likely to have a significant negative impact on customer service.

Where flexible work is not appropriate, a staff member may consider various leave options available to them. Leave provisions are specified in the Enterprise Agreements, and relevant leave policies.

Specific requirements

Specific requirements and considerations for each type of flexible work are identified below.

Part-time work

Description

An agreed work arrangement where a staff member chooses to reduce their employment fraction, commonly from full-time to part-time, on a temporary basis for personal reasons.

Approval authority

Head of Department/ Head of Office

Considerations

  • Salary, leave and other entitlements   and benefits will apply on a pro rata basis.
  • A notice period will apply if the   staff member wants to return to full-time or increase their fraction before   the agreed date, should the staff member’s circumstances change. The recommended   notice period is 4 weeks and should be agreed on by the manager/supervisor and   the staff member.
Job share

Description

An employment arrangement where two (or more) staff members, each working part-time, share all the duties and responsibilities of a full-time position.

Approval authority

Head of Department/ Head of Office

Considerations

  • Job share can be considered either   during recruitment for a position or when a staff member requests to work   part-time.
  • Job sharers may work split days, split   weeks or alternate weeks.
  • Salary, leave and other entitlements   and benefits will apply on a pro rata basis.
  • A notice period will apply if the   staff member wants to return to full-time or increase their fraction before   the agreed date, should the staff member’s circumstances change. The recommended   notice period is 4 weeks and should be agreed on by the manager/supervisor and   the staff member.
Compressed fortnight

Description

An agreed regular working pattern where a staff member works their ordinary fortnightly hours compressed into a shorter period.

This can be achieved by working longer but fewer blocks of time.

Approval authority

Manager/Supervisor

Considerations

  • Salary, leave and other entitlements   and benefits will generally not change.
  • Staff who work a compressed fortnight   should work to an agreed fortnightly schedule and should not accrue and carry   forward hours to the next fortnightly period.
  • The maximum number of agreed hours   worked on each day must not exceed 10 hours and there must be a minimum of 10   hours break before resuming duty.
  • Staff must ensure they take a minimum   of 30 minutes unpaid break on any day of work longer than five hours.
  • Where a scheduled work day falls on a public holiday or a University   concessional day, a staff member will be paid for the number of hours   scheduled for that day. For example, if a public holiday falls on a   10-hour-day, the staff member will be paid for 10 hours; if a public holiday   falls on a 4-hour-day, the staff member will be paid for 4 hours.
  • Where a scheduled day off falls on a public holiday or a University   concessional day, a staff member will not be entitled to additional payment   or additional time off.
  • Personal leave is not available on a   scheduled day off.
  • Penalty rates do not apply if a staff   member works outside the core business hours within the work area due to a   flexible work arrangement.
Flexible start and finish times

Description

A regular work pattern where the staff member’s start and finish times are different from core business hours within the work area.

Approval authority

Manager/Supervisor

Considerations

  • Core business hours for a work area   are determined by the relevant manager/supervisor. The   number and times of the core business hours in a specific work area may vary   during the year according to operational needs.
  • Flexible start and finish times are   not generally available to staff working in roles that require attendance for   fixed hours.
  • Penalty rates do not apply if a staff   member works outside the core business hours within the work area due to a   flexible work arrangement.
  • The maximum number of hours worked on   each day must not exceed 10 hours and there must be a minimum of 10 hours   break before resuming duty.
Working from home / telecommuting

Description

An arrangement where a staff member performs some of their duties from home or another location off campus.

Approval authority

Manager/Supervisor

Considerations

  • If working from home involves access   to University resources and computer networks, the manager/supervisor and the   staff member must ensure that appropriate security arrangements are in place,   and that the staff member complies with the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy.
  • All work health and safety policies   and procedures that apply to staff members of the University will, as far as   practicable, apply in carrying out work at a home-based site.
  • The University’s Workers’ Compensation   scheme applies to staff undertaking approved home-based work in the same way   as to staff working on campus.
  • Staff members are solely responsible   for checking whether home-based work has any impact on any existing home   insurance arrangements they may have, including public liability or equipment   covered by their own home contents insurance, and any obligations they may   have to notify their insurer that their home is to be used for work purposes.
  • Working from home must not be used as a   substitute for childcare.  Staff must   make appropriate childcare arrangements for working from home days.
  • Where working from home /   telecommuting is implemented on a regular basis (not as a ‘one off’) the   manager/supervisor and the staff member should agree on the optimal time   spent in the office. It is recommended to split the time between working from   home/another location a few days a week with the rest of the time spent in   the office.
  • Staff who work from home /telecommute are   required to follow the same procedures for notifying of absences (e.g. sick   leave) that apply to all staff.

6     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Fair Work Act 2009

Carer Recognition Act 2010

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Flexible Work Procedure (see tab above)

Enterprise Agreements

Manager guide to flexible work

Employee guide to flexible work

8     NOTES

8.1

Contact Officer

Executive Officer, Human Resources

8.2

Implementation Officer

Head, Human Resources Client Services

8.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Vice-President, Human Resources

8.4

Date Approved

4 July 2018

8.5

Date of Commencement

10 July 2018

8.6

Date for Review

July 2021

8.7

Documents Superseded by this Policy

Flexible Work Policy, approved 9 March 2011

8.8

Amendment History

13 June 2019 - Amendment to position title: ‘Director, Human Resources’ updated to ‘Vice-President, Human Resources’ with effect from 6 June 2019.
23 Jan 2019 - minor amendment under Compressed Fortnight 'Description' section: removing example.

PROCEDURE

1     PURPOSE

To establish the process for requesting, approving and effectively implementing flexible work arrangements in accordance with the Flexible Work Policy.

2     SCOPE

This Procedure applies to continuing and fixed-term staff members employed by Macquarie University who request flexible work arrangements on a regular or formal basis, and managers/supervisors responsible for considering these requests.

This Procedure must be followed for all regular or formal flexible work requests. This includes all part-time, job share and compressed fortnight flexible work arrangements.

This Procedure may also be followed when a staff member requests to work flexible start and finish hours or work from home/telecommute on a regular long-term basis, and it is deemed appropriate to formalise these arrangements (refer to the Flexible Work Policy for more information).

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the accompanying Policy.

4     ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Staff Member

When preparing a flexible work request, be considerate of the business needs of the work area and be prepared to consider alternative options in discussion with the manager/supervisor.

Be prepared to have a trial period to assess how well the flexible work arrangement is progressing and to openly discuss any issues with the manager/supervisor.

Pro-actively manage personal workload, continue fulfilling inherent requirements of the role, and ensure performance is not negatively impacted by the flexible work arrangement.

Manager/Supervisor

Give due consideration to the request, taking into account both the business needs of the work area, and the staff member’s personal circumstances.

Seek advice from HR when there are concerns that a flexible work arrangement is not reasonable or practicable.

Respond to flexible work requests as soon as reasonably possible and within 21 business days from the date of written request.

Human Resources (HR)

Advise managers/supervisors and staff members who are considering flexible work on available options and considerations for effective and mutually beneficial flexible work arrangements.

5     PROCESS

Print version of Flexible Work Procedure Flowchart (PDF) Flexible Work Procedure FlowchartWorking from Home Health & Safety Checklist 
(if applicable)Flexible Work Application Form (for all requests)

Please click on items of the flowchart to see more information.

If you have difficulty accessing this document please contact the Policy Unit policy@mq.edu.au or 9850 4791.

Making a flexible work request

A staff member should review the Flexible Work Policy and Procedure prior to making a request for flexible work.

It is good practice to discuss the intention to submit a request for flexible work with the manager/supervisor prior to making a formal request.

A staff member requesting a flexible work arrangement on a formal basis must make the request in writing using the Flexible Work Form; clearly outlining details of the change sought and reasons for the change.

In addition, the staff member must also complete Working from Home Health and Safety Checklist if requesting to work from home.

Consideration and assessment of a flexible work request

Each request for flexible work will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The manager/supervisor should consider the request carefully, taking into account the benefits of the requested change in working arrangements for the staff member and for the work area, and weighing these against any business impacts.

The manager/supervisor should arrange to talk with the staff member as soon as possible after receiving their request. The manager/supervisor and the staff member should discuss the following considerations:

  • the type of flexible work proposed
  • duration of the flexible work arrangement
  • trial period to assess the effectiveness of the arrangement
  • review dates
  • notice period for which the arrangement can be altered
  • any impacts on the team, business continuity, or clients, and how these may be addressed.

If the staff member is requesting to work from home on a regular basis (not as a ‘one-off’), the manager/supervisor must also review the Working from Home Health and Safety Checklist and discuss whether the work environment at home meets the health and safety standards set by the University. If an issue is identified, the manager/supervisor must consult with their Health and Safety Advisor.

The manager/supervisor does not have to approve or refuse the request in full. If there are concerns that the proposed arrangement will not be practicable, the manager/supervisor and the staff member may consider and discuss alternatives to the proposed flexible work arrangement.

Managers/supervisors are encouraged to discuss a proposed flexible work arrangement with HR if they have any concerns.

Responding to a flexible work request

The Approval authority may:

  • grant the request in full,
  • grant the request in part,
  • propose a modified version of the request,
  • ask the staff member to trial the flexible working arrangement for a specified period, or
  • refuse the request.
Timeframe for responding

The manager/supervisor must acknowledge receipt of a flexible work request as soon as reasonably possible, and respond to the request within 21 business days from the date the request was submitted.

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the University has an obligation to respond in writing within 21 business days from the date the request was submitted if the staff member requesting flexible work:

  • is the parent, or has responsibility for the care, of a child who is of school age or younger;
  • is a carer within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010 (means an individual who provides personal care, support and assistance to another individual who needs it because that other individual: has a disability, or has a medical condition, including a terminal or chronic illness; or has a mental illness; or is frail and aged);
  • has a disability;
  • is 55 or older;
  • is experiencing violence from a member of their family; or
  • provides care or support to a member of their immediate family or household, who  requires care or support because they are experiencing violence from their family.
Approving a flexible work request

To approve a flexible work request, the manager/supervisor must:

The manager/supervisor must advise the staff member that the request is approved and discuss with the staff member how and when the changes might be implemented.

The manager/supervisor should communicate the new arrangement and any impacts to relevant team members and stakeholders in the University.

Refusing a flexible work request

A manager/supervisor should  genuinely consider  a request for flexible work, including alternative proposals. Managers/supervisors are encouraged to consult with HR and/or their line manager before refusing a request.

If a manager/supervisor refuses a request, the response must be in writing and include the reasons for the refusal.

An application for flexible work may only be refused on reasonable business grounds, which include but are not limited to:

  • the nature of the work is incompatible with the proposed flexible work arrangement
  • the new working arrangements requested by the staff member would be too costly for the University;
  • accommodating the requested flexible work arrangement will have a disproportionate impact on other staff;
  • it would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other staff, or recruit new staff, to accommodate the requested flexible work arrangement;
  • the new working arrangements requested by the staff member would be likely to result in significant loss of efficiency or productivity;
  • the new working arrangements requested by the staff member would be likely to have a significant negative impact on customer service.

If a request is refused, the staff member may make a further application:

  • where the circumstances have changed, or
  • after twelve months from the date of the initial application.
Implementing flexible work arrangements
Trial periods

It is recommended to trial a flexible work arrangement where possible. Trial periods are particularly recommended when there is some uncertainty about how practicable the arrangement is for the staff member and for their work area.

Depending on the duration of the proposed flexible work arrangement, the recommended duration of trial periods is three to six months. However, the duration of trial periods can vary on a case-by-case basis to allow sufficient time for the staff member and their manager/supervisor to implement and become used to the new working practices before making any decisions on the viability of a new arrangement.

The manager/supervisor may consider a mid-point review of the flexible work trial as an opportunity to discuss the effectiveness of the arrangement with the staff member and make timely adjustments if required.

At the end of the agreed trial period, the University reserves the right to require the staff member (with reasonable notice, i.e. two - four weeks) to revert to their previous working arrangement.

Managing flexible work arrangementS

The success of flexible work requires a ‘give and take’ approach and a shared responsibility between staff members and their managers/supervisors.

Staff members working flexibly should ensure that they continue to actively manage personal workload, and continue to fulfil the inherent requirements of the role and performance expectations.

Clear, open and regular communication between the staff member working flexibly, the manager/supervisor and other team members is key to an effective flexible work arrangement.

Reviewing and changing flexible work arrangementS
Ongoing changes and adjustments

The manager/supervisor and the staff member should be prepared for ongoing adjustments, recognising that flexible work arrangements may need to change over time to maximise business outcomes and the staff member’s wellbeing.

Any changes to a flexible work arrangement proposed by either the manager/supervisor or the staff member outside the review period, should be discussed by the staff member and manager/supervisor in the first instance, with reasonable notice.

Review

Flexible work arrangements must be reviewed at the end of the agreed period. If the arrangement is for over one year, it is good practice to also conduct annual reviews.

The aim of reviewing flexible work arrangements is to ensure that the arrangement still meets the needs of both the work area and the staff member, and that the arrangements are agreed rather than presumed.

The review process is a conversation between the staff member and their manager/supervisor.

The outcome of the review may be one of the following:

  • the existing arrangement will be renewed with no change,
  • the arrangement will end, and the staff member will revert to the original work arrangement,
  • a new arrangement will be negotiated.

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Fair Work Act 2009

Carer Recognition Act 2010

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Flexible Work Policy (see tab above)

Flexible Work Application Form

Working from Home Health and Safety Checklist

Manager guide to flexible work

Employee guide to flexible work

7     NOTES

7.1

Contact Officer

Executive Officer, Human Resources

7.2

Implementation Officer

Head, Human Resources Client Services

7.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Vice-President, Human Resources

7.4

Date Approved

4 July 2018

7.5

Date of Commencement

10 July 2018

7.6

Date for Review

3 years

7.7

Documents Superseded by this Procedure

Flexible Work Procedure approved 9 March 2011

7.8

Amendment History

6 November 2019 - Minor amendment, URL updated for Flexible Work Application Form.
13 June 2019 - Amendment to position title: ‘Director, Human Resources’ updated to ‘Vice-President, Human Resources’ with effect from 6 June 2019.
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