Flexible Work

Flexible Work

SUMMARY

The Flexible Work Policy establishes the University's approach to flexible work arrangements. The Procedure provides further information on requesting and approving Flexible Work for Professional staff members

POLICY

PurposeTo document the policy for Flexible Work.

Overview

The University recognises the increasing importance of flexible work arrangements in maintaining a diverse and high performing workforce. 

Flexible Work:
  • assists staff members to achieve greater integration between work and personal life while contributing to improved performance and productivity
  • assists the University in attracting and retaining valuable skills
  • supports the optimal participation of diverse groups in the workforce
There are a variety of reasons why a staff member may request Flexible Work including, but not limited to:
  • people considering retirement and seeking a phased exit
  • childcare responsibilities
  • returning to work from parental leave
  • caring for family members during illness or incapacity
  • caring for elderly family members.

There are a number of Flexible Work options available to staff that complement the University’s ordinary hours of work and leave provisions.  Staff members are encouraged to discuss Flexible Work with their supervisor in circumstances where leave arrangements may not be appropriate. 

The success of Flexible Work requires a ‘give and take’ approach and a shared responsibility between staff members and their supervisors.

Not all requests for Flexible Work can be met, as some positions are not suitable because of the nature of the position; for example, staff performing service roles would not be in a position to work from home where face-to-face contact is required.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff employed under the Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement.

It is of particular relevance to Continuing and Fixed-Term full-time and part-time Professional staff members.

DEFINITIONS
Full-time Employment: for Professional staff, full-time employment means 70 ordinary hours per fortnight.
Part-time Employment: employment for less than the normal weekly ordinary hours specified for a full-time staff member.
Ordinary Hours of Work: the ordinary hours of work for full-time Professional staff members are 70 per fortnight (exclusive of meal breaks and inclusive of Saturday and Sunday). Ordinary hours for part-time Professional staff members are the contracted hours per fortnight (inclusive of weekends).
Job Sharing: a voluntary arrangement where two staff members, working part-time, share all the duties and responsibilities of a continuing or fixed-term full-time position. Possible ways in which a job may be shared include:
  • one staff member working two days a week and one staff member working three days a week. The incumbents may agree to swap each week so both staff members do the same amount of work over a fortnight
  • two staff members working three days each
  • two staff members working alternate weeks or working split days (half day on, half day off)

Home Based Work Arrangements: an arrangement where a staff member performs some or all of their duties from their home.  The type of work, availability of facilities and the working environment will influence the approval of a request to work from home.

Home Based Work Arrangements are typically part-time, that is the staff member and the University negotiate and agree on the amount of time spent working from home each week; for example, working in the office Monday to Thursday and working at home on Friday.  Another example is working from home on an ad-hoc basis because of the need for uninterrupted time or the need to work around childcare responsibilities.

Variable Working Hours: an arrangement where a staff member may vary their start and finish times each day without reducing their total fortnightly hours of work.

Other Arrangements: arrangements for extraordinary events or ad-hoc circumstances that arise which affect a staff member’s work and personal life integration. These situations generally arise when a few hours are required to be made up or are owing to the staff member.

The University may consider other arrangements to accommodate a staff member’s personal circumstances on a longer-term basis including:
  • modified/alternative duties
  • modified/alternative hours of work e.g. a temporary change to hours worked per week
  • unpaid leave
These arrangements will be subject to the operational needs of the University following consultation between the staff member, supervisor or other relevant persons.

Policy

ELIGIBILITY
  1. All Continuing and Fixed-Term full-time and part-time Professional staff members are eligible to request Flexible Work for up to 3 years (or longer by agreement between the staff member and their supervisor).
  2. Parents or carers of children under school age, and those who have a child under the age of 18 with a disability, may request a change in working arrangements to assist with the care of the child.
  3. The University will review each request on a case-by-case basis and where it is reasonable and practicable, will attempt to accommodate the staff member’s request subject to operational requirements.
STAFF OPTIONS
The following options may be considered:
  • Full-Time to Part-Time
  • Job Sharing
  • Home Based Work Arrangements
  • Variable Working Hours
  • Other Arrangements
CONDITIONS FOR WORKING FLEXIBLY
The following conditions apply to all approved Flexible Work options:
  • work a maximum of 10 hours on any one day
  • take a minimum of 10 hours break before resuming duty
  • take a minimum of 30 minutes unpaid break on any day of work longer than five hours
  • ensure that, where reasonable and practicable, the Flexible Work arrangements are managed within the fortnightly period
The following conditions apply to Variable Working Hours:
  • no more than 10 hours debit or credit may be carried forward to the next fortnightly period. This limit is not to be exceeded except where the excess debit/credit hours were accrued as a result of unforeseen circumstances that could not be accommodated during the period
  • a staff member with a credit balance who leaves employment at the University for any reason, will be required to take the credit prior to exit or will, with approval by the supervisor, have the credit paid on separation. Payment of credit on separation
    will be calculated on the basis of ordinary time earnings.
  • a staff member with a debit balance who leaves employment at the University for any reason, will be required to make up the time or, will have the monetary value of the hours recovered from any final payment which may include outstanding leave
    entitlements.
The following conditions apply to Leave and other absences:
  • entitlements to leave are not changed by Flexible Work. Staff should include leave requiring prior notice in the fortnightly program for their ordinary work hours
  • in circumstances where Flexible Work arrangements vary the ordinary hours of work, and staff are absent from work in accordance with the University’s leave provisions or for public holiday or concessional days, the following applies:
    • full-time staff members will receive a payment for seven hours ordinary work per day
    • part-time staff members will receive payment for the normal hours expected on that day.
  • Personal Leave will not be granted where staff are ill or required to care for an immediate family or household member on a programmed day off
  • if staff are ill on a day in which they have accrued time off due to working variable hours, they are not entitled to Personal Leave.

Penalty rates and overtime, where appropriate, will be paid in accordance with the Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement.

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHESThe University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this policy applies breaches this policy (or any of its related procedures).

Policy Information

Contact OfficerManager, Employee Relations, Human Resources
Date Approved9 March 2011
Approval AuthorityDirector, Human Resources
Date of Commencement9 March 2011
Amendment HistoryMay 2013 - Date for Next Review extended to the full three years
November 2011 – added Compliances and Breaches statement
March 2011 – conditions added for Variable Working Hours, and a cap of 3 years added for Flexible Work
Date for Next ReviewMarch 2014
Related DocumentsFlexible Work Procedure (see tab above)
Policies / Rules Superseded by This PolicyFlexible Work Arrangements Policy approved 14 October 2010
KeywordsPart-Time, Job Share, Variable Working Hours, Home Based Work, Overtime, Leave, Penalty Rates, Flexible Work

PROCEDURE

PurposeTo document the procedures for requesting and approving Flexible Work for Professional staff members.

Procedure

This procedure requires actions by the following: The procedure comprises the following topics:

Staff Member

REQUESTS FOR FULL-TIME TO PART-TIME, JOB SHARE AND HOME BASED WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Apply
Identify in writing the reasons for the request and the Flexible Work option that suits your needs. 

Consider the following:
  • the type of Flexible Work
  • the length of a trial period to determine the effectiveness of the Flexible Work arrangement
  • the duration of the Flexible Work arrangement
  • whether there is a preference for a ‘right to return’ to the previous arrangement if desired
  • whether there is a preference for an agreed notice period for which the arrangement can be altered
  • who the Flexible Work will affect; for example, will the University have coverage at all times, will customer or client service be impacted, will continuity of business activity be impacted?
  • the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed arrangement
  • the impact on team members
For Home Based Work Arrangements also consider:
  • the type and amount of work
  • whether the work can be completed as efficiently from home as at the usual workplace
  • whether the work environment at home meets the health and safety standards set by the University. Ideally, a staff member should have a designated room to use as a home office which can be locked when required. All University documentation is to be kept confidential and securely stored
  • whether the staff member’s home and contents insurance cover is affected by working from home

Complete a Request for Flexible Work Arrangements form.

Meet with your supervisor to discuss the request.

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Supervisor

Review Request
Consider requests and respond within two weeks (14 days) of receiving a request. Aim to achieve enhanced organisational performance while considering the work and personal life integration of staff.

Discuss the possible arrangement with the staff member and where appropriate, consult with other team members to ensure that impact of any changes in work patterns are managed. Consider the following information when assessing a Flexible Work request:
  • work, family and personal life commitments of the staff member.  These circumstances may change over time
  • the balance between organisational needs and the staff member’s flexibility needs. This includes looking at the operational requirements and workloads within the area
  • staff member’s performance record
  • staff member’s work style
  • staff member’s ability to make appropriate home arrangements where home based work is considered
  • consult with team members so that they feel part of the decision-making process whether responsibilities and tasks can be performed
  • ways in which the responsibilities and tasks may be performed under a Flexible Work arrangement. For example, where a staff member requests to work part-time, an adjustment to their workload and performance outcomes needs to be made
  • any trial period is needed

Approve Request
Ensure the Request for Flexible Work Arrangements form is filled in, confirm or decline the arrangement, sign and then forward the form to the Head of Department/Unit.

If approved the Flexible Work arrangements should be reviewed and evaluated at regular intervals.

For Home Based Work Arrangements, also complete and sign a Working from Home – OHS Checklist.

For a variation in hours – for example, from full-time to part-time, complete a Professional Staff Variable Working Hours Program form.

For approved requests, communicate the new arrangement and any impacts to those in the University who need to know.

Decline Request
You may decline a request on reasonable business grounds. Reasonable business grounds include, but are not limited to:
  • the impact on financial efficiency, productivity or customer service
  • an inability to organise work among other staff or to recruit a replacement
  • the practicality of the request.

You must document the reasons in writing.

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Head of Department/Office

Sign and forward the Request for Flexible Work Arrangements form and any associated documentation to Employee Relations, Human Resources.

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Senior Employee Relations Officer, Human Resources

Review documentation and seek further information from the supervisor where necessary.

File documentation on the staff member’s file.

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Staff Member

REQUESTS FOR ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

Apply
Discuss the request for variable working hours or other arrangements with your supervisor.

Supervisor

Review Request
Discuss the possible arrangement with the staff member and where appropriate, consult with other team members to ensure that impact of any changes in work patterns are managed. Consider the following information when assessing a Flexible Work request:
  • the work, family and personal life commitments of the staff member.  These circumstances may change over time
  • the balance between organisational needs and the staff member’s flexibility needs. This includes looking at the operational requirements and workloads within the area
  • the staff member’s performance record
  • the staff member’s work style
  • the staff member’s ability to make appropriate home arrangements where home based work is considered
  • ways in which the responsibilities and tasks may be performed under a Flexible Work arrangement. For example, where a staff member requests to work part-time, an adjustment to their workload and performance outcomes needs to be made
  • whether a trial period may be appropriate
Approve or Decline Request
Confirm or decline the request for alternative arrangements. You may decline the request on reasonable business grounds. Reasonable business grounds include, but are not limited to;
  • the impact on financial efficiency, productivity or customer service
  • an inability to organise work among other staff or to recruit a replacement
  • the practicality of the request.

You must document the reasons in writing.

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Staff Member

Report
If your request is approved, complete and submit to your supervisor for your approval the Professional Staff Variable Working Hours Program form two weeks (14 days) in advance.

You must:
  • complete the actual time component of the form daily
  • sign the form at the end of each work cycle
  • submit to your supervisor
Ad hoc arrangements may be recorded informally at the local level.

Supervisor

Record
Approve the actual time component and carry over of the debit/credit hours from the preceding period, as necessary, in accordance with the Flexible Work Policy (see tab above).

Maintain accurate and timely records relating to the staff member’s debit/credit balance.

You may make, in consultation with Human Resources, alternate record keeping arrangements for alternative arrangements.

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Procedure Information

Contact OfficerManager, Employee Relations, Human Resources
Date Approved9 March 2011
Approval AuthorityDirector, Human Resources
Date of Commencement9 March 2011
Amendment HistoryMay 2013 - Date for Next Review extended to the full three years
March 2011 – minor change regarding carry-over of debit/credit hours being in accordance with policy
Date for Next ReviewMarch 2014
Related Documents

Flexible Work Policy (see tab above)

Professional Staff Variable Working Hours Program
Request for Flexible Work Arrangements form
Working from Home – OHS Checklist.
KeywordsPart-Time, Job Share, Home Based Work, Alternative Arrangements, Flexible Work
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