Flexible Working Arrangements Policy and Procedure (Q4)

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Woodlands endeavours to assist its employees achieve their personal, family and relationship goals by facilitating flexibility in employment and working arrangements to achieve the optimum balance between work and personal responsibilities. Flexible Work Arrangements are about an employee and an employer making changes to when, where and how a person will work to better meet individual and business needs.

 

National Quality Standard (NQS)

Quality Area 4: Staffing Arrangements
4.1 Staffing arrangements Staffing arrangements enhance children’s learning and development
4.1.2 Continuity of Staff Every effort is made for children to experience continuity of educators at the service.
4.2 Professionalism Management, educators and staff are collaborative, respectful and ethical
4.2.1 Professional Collaboration Management, educators and staff work with mutual respect and collaboratively, and challenge and learn from each other, recognising each other’s strengths and skills
4.2.2 Professional Standards Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships

 

Quality Area 7: Governance and Leadership
7.1 Governance Governance supports the operation of a quality service
7.1.2 Management systems Systems are in place to manage risk and enable the effective management and operation of a quality service
7.2 Leadership Effective leadership builds and promotes a positive organisational culture and professional learning community

 

Education and Care Services National Regulations

Children (Education and Care Services) National Law NSW
123 Educator to child ratios - centre-based services
126 Centre-based services - general educator qualifications
135 Illness or absence of early childhood teacher or suitably qualified person
168 Education and care service must have policies and procedures
170 Policies and procedures to be followed

 

Related Policies

  • Parental Leave Policy
  • Staff Arrangements Policy
  • Code of Conduct
  • Relief Staff Policy
  • Staff Grievance Policy
  • Educator and Management Policy
  • Privacy and Confidentiality Policy
  • Governance Policy

 

Scope

This policy applies to staff and management of Woodlands.

 

Purpose

To provide employees with greater control and flexibility over their work schedules, locations and arrangements. Woodlands aims to create a supportive and inclusive work environment that promotes work-life balance, employee satisfaction and productivity.

 

This policy exists to assist Woodlands and its employees with the handling of such flexible working requests to enable all parties to comply with the law. To the extent that this policy describes benefits and entitlements, they are discretionary in nature and are not intended to be contractual. The terms and conditions of employment that are intended to be contractual are set out in an employee’s written employment contract. Woodlands may independently introduce, change, remove or replace this policy at any given time.

 

Implementation 

 

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that some employees can request flexible working arrangements. There are specific guidelines to the eligibility requirements for employees and whether requests are accepted, denied or alternatives options are offered to the employee.

 

 

Types of Flexible Working Arrangements

 

  • Conversion to part time employment. Part-time employees work a regular and predictable number of hours each week.
  • Job sharing. Job sharing involves one position being shared by two or more employees.
  • Flexible start and finish time - eg. changes to start and finish times.
  • Flexible rostering.
  • Home based work. Employee performs most work responsibilities from home.
  • Office based home worker. Employee performs majority of work responsibilities in the office but has regular days working from home.
  • Ad Hoc Working from Home. Employee works from home on an ad hoc or infrequent basis.
  • Compressed hours. Employee works additional daily hours to provide for a shorter working week or fortnight.
  • Other flexible work arrangements. Other types of Flexible Work Arrangements as agreed between the employee and manager such as graduated return to work after parental league is when the employee returns part-time and then builds up to fill-time work by an agreed date.

 

Eligibility

Woodlands will consider an eligible employee’s request for flexible working and respond in writing to inform the employee whether their request is granted, partially granted or refused.

Employees must satisfy the following before making a permissible request for flexible working:

 

  • Permanent employees must have been continuously employed by the Company for at least 12 months before their request;
  • Casual employees can request flexible work arrangements if:
    • They meet one of the above criteria
    • They have been working for the same employer regularly and systematically for at least 12 months
    • There’s a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the employer on a regular and systematic basis

 

Full-time and part-time employees can request flexible work arrangements if they have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months and they:

 

  • Are the parent, or have responsibility for the care of a child who is of school age or younger; or
  • Are a carer under the Carer Recognition Act 2010;
  • Have a disability.
  • Are 55 years of age or older.
  • Are experiencing family and domestic violence; or
  • Provide care or support to an immediate family member, or a member of the employee’s household, who is experiencing family and domestic violence; or
  • Are pregnant; or
  • An employee returning to work after taking leave in relation to the birth or adoption of a child.

 

Request for a Flexible Working Arrangement

Staff members must initiate their request on the Employee request for Flexible Working Arrangements Form(To be confirmed). Before completing and submitting their FW Agreement form it is best to discuss their application with the Campus leadership team. The FW Agreement form must be approved in writing before it takes effect.

In order for Woodlands to properly consider the employee’s request, requests for flexible working arrangements must include:

 

  • The type of flexible working arrangement that is requested, or different options of flexible working that could benefit the employee;
  • Explain the reasons for the requested change;
  • A proposed start date and if relevant, an end date;
  • Suggestion as to how the employee’s proposed flexible working arrangement could impact their follow employees and how this could be overcome;
  • If it may be unclear to the Company why the employee is eligible to apply, then provide details as to why the employee believes they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Any other relevant information.

 

Responding to a Request

Once Woodlands receives the employee’s written request to change their working arrangements it will consider the request, taking into account the employee’s proposals and their impact upon the Woodlands ability to continue to meet its business objectives. A written response will be provided to the employee within 21 days.

The response will set out whether the employee’s request is granted, partially granted (for instance, it may be granted with conditions or for a fixed period of time) or refused. In making its decision, Woodlands will take into consideration some or all of the following objectives: 

 

  • Its staffing requirements; 
  • Technical operations;
  • Output and productivity; 
  • Workplace health and safety; and 
  • The specific circumstances of the employee.

 

Employers and employees can agree to working arrangements that are different from what the employee had originally requested. Where this happens the employer needs to confirm the agreed changes in writing within 21 days of receiving the request.

 

Agreement or Refusal

If the employee’s request for flexible working is agreed in full, then the start date of the new arrangement will need to be agreed, a review date decided and the relevant change to the employee’s terms and conditions will be documented in a Flexible Working Arrangement record(To be confirmed). It is also possible that the employee will be asked to execute a new employment contract to reflect the changes (though this will depend on the nature of the changes).

 

If the employee’s request for flexible working is partially agreed, further discussion will then take place between the employee and the Campus Leadership Team to come to a mutually convenient arrangement.

 

The employee’s request will only be refused on reasonable business grounds and this will be explained in a response letter, outlining what led to the decision to refuse the request. Reasonable business grounds may include (but are not limited to):

 

  • The request is too costly and is likely to result in a significant loss in efficiency or productivity;
  • The inability to organise work amongst existing employees;
  • It would be impractical to change other employee’s working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request;
  • The effect the arrangements will have on the Company’s other employees;
  • The timing of the request. For example, how quickly do the new arrangements need to begin and how long do they need to stay in place for;
  • Whether other legal obligations will be breached by modifying the work arrangements, for example, workplace health and safety laws;
  • Would have a significant negative impact on customer service;
  • Other employee’s days off, specifically working in the same area;
  • The nature of Long Day Care services, including size of service, operating hours and nature of work required;
  • The request has been discussed with the employee and genuinely tried to reach an agreement or alternative arrangements to accommodate the employee’s circumstances;
  • Considered the consequences of refusing the employee’s request.
  • The number of job shares at the Campus will be assessed and will not exceed a reasonable number of part time employees
  • Ensuring consistency and efficiency across the Campus in regard to staffing arrangements for both the wellbeing of employees and children and families attending the Campus

 

When refusing a request, the written response will include:

 

  • The reasons for the refusal, including an explanation of the grounds for refusing and how they apply to the request
  • Other changes the employer is willing to make or a statement that there are not any changes to be made
  • Information about getting help from the Fair Work Commission for disputes about flexible working arrangements.

 

Review of Flexible Working Agreement

All long term flexible working arrangements will be reviewed regularly. Flexible working arrangements will be reviewed:

  • Initially after a period of 3 months
  • Annually
  • On a needs basis based on the operational requirements of the Employer or personal circumstances of the Employee

 

However, flexible working arrangements may need to be reviewed earlier or more regularly as the circumstances require, such as (but not limited to):

  • The operational or team requirements have changed;
  • There are concerns regarding efficiency, productivity or customer service;
  • The Employee wishes to change the arrangement; or
  • The flexible working arrangement impacts the Employee’s ability to effectively undertake their role.

 

Flexible working arrangements can be altered to meet the changing operational requirements of the workplace. Either party may propose a variation to the Flexible Working Arrangement, with any variation being subject to legislative requirements and should be documented.

 

Discontinuing a Flexible Working Agreement

Unless ended earlier, each Flexible Working Agreement will end at the conclusion of the agreed term. The supervisor will provide notice, of at least 14 days, to the staff member of the decision and reasons to discontinue or vary a Flexible Working Agreement prior to its stated end date. The staff member can elect to discontinue the Flexible Agreement at any time by written notice.

 

  • Flexible working arrangements are not transferable. Employees who are reassigned or appointed to a new position or accept higher duties must reapply for their flexible working arrangement.
  • Where a current arrangement can no longer be accommodated on reasonable business grounds, the reasons why and available options will be discussed with the Employee. The Employer will provide at least 28 calendar days written notice where a regular or ongoing arrangement needs to be changed.
  • Either party may terminate a flexible working arrangement, subject to at least 28 calendar days written notice. If the Employer terminates the arrangement, a written confirmation must be provided to the Employee including reasons for termination, taking into consideration reasonable business grounds.
  • Where the Employee seeks to terminate the arrangement, they must first discuss with their Employer appropriate cessation arrangements the Employer may have put in place to accommodate the Employee’s original request.

 

Working from Home

In deciding whether working from home will be an option for an Employee, the following will be considered:

 

  • If the work is suitable to be undertaken independently at home
  • Any preferences expressed by workers about working from home arrangements
  • If communication with colleagues and clients can be effectively undertaken remotely
  • If the information needed to undertake the work is accessible and appropriate to be viewed at home
  • The suitability of the home environment for the type of work being undertaken
  • How safe working procedures would be implemented at home
  • Mental health and wellbeing considerations, including the risk of workers becoming isolated from managers, supervisors and colleagues
  • Any impact on training and mentoring that might affect the worker’s development or performance

 

Worker’s have a duty to:

 

  • Take reasonable care for their own health and safety while at work
  • Comply with reasonable instructions
  • Cooperate with reasonable policies and procedures

 

All working from home is subject to the following conditions:

 

  • The staff member must comply with the terms and conditions of their employment contract, Woodlands policies, the Code of Conduct and relevant legislation.
  • The staff member must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and notify their supervisor of any risks identified or injuries sustained while working from home in accordance with the Guide to working from home Safely(To be confirmed).
  • The staff member must be contactable and available to respond to work related tasks and activities.
  • Staff who are working from home are required to follow normal processes to notify their supervisor of any leave (such as sick leave) and complete the absence request for leave taken during the arrangement.

 

Professional Staff - Ad Hoc Work from Home Arrangement

In addition to permanent and semi-permanent flexible work arrangements, as per our Flexible Working Arrangements Policy, staff can apply for working from home on an ad hoc basis.

Ad hoc work from home arrangements for professional staff applies to staff whose work can reasonably be done from home or another location.

  • Ad hoc work from home arrangements are considered once-off, or occasional arrangements and must be arranged and agreed in advance.
  • An email or text message from the supervisor is a sufficient record of an ad hoc arrangement or decision to decline the request.

 

   

Source

  • Fair Work Act (2009)
  • National Employment Standards
  • Children’s Services Award
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010

Fair work act

Carer recognition Act 2010

National employment standards

Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commission - www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au 

 

Review

Policy Reviewed Modifications Next review Date
August 2023

New Policy added to library

Branding and formatting

Policy statement added

Centre specific information adjusted

August 2024

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