Human Resources

University Policy on Flexible Work and Leave Practices

Policy No.
UP09/3
Function
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
19/12/2008
Next Review Date
19/12/2011
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Flexible Work and Leave Practices

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The University is committed to supporting flexible work and leave practices (Life Balance). This policy defines the nature and purpose of Life Balance entitlements to support employees accommodating various priorities at work, home and in their community. This policy also outlines the responsibilities of managers when considering requests for flexible work or leave arrangements and the requirement for a transparent and responsive decision making process.

Definitions:

"Employee" means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term contract under the terms of the following Agreements (as amended or replaced from time to time): Academic Staff Agreement, General Staff Agreement, Child Care Employees Agreement and the ELICOS Agreement.

"FTE" means full time equivalent, eg an FTE of 1.0 means an employee is equivalent to full-time, while an FTE of 0.5 means the employee works half-time.

"Supervisor" means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the employee.

"University" means The University of Western Australia.

Policy statement:

View the many University policies which support flexible work and leave practices.

A key University priority is to recruit, develop and retain the highest quality staff and to provide a working environment that enables staff to optimise their contribution to the University. The Life Balance strategy, as part of the University's commitment to diversity, will support this key priority.

The University supports a Life Balance philosophy where paid work and personal life are not seen as competing priorities, allowing management to integrate Life Balance and well being strategies into operational plans and processes. Various options of flexible work arrangements are available for all positions within the University.

The University recognises that policies which support Life Balance -

  • increase the University's attraction and retention capacity ensuring the University maintains a competitive advantage as an employer of choice,
  • improve workplace productivity by reducing absenteeism, and
  • enable employees to maintain their effectiveness at work by meeting the needs of the work area, while also accommodating other personal responsibilities.

The University also recognises that Life Balance is a personal choice that will vary greatly between individuals and over time. Employees may experience a number of changing priorities throughout their working lives. A focus on achieving Life Balance will support employees by providing a level of autonomy and flexibility within their work role to accommodate various priorities at work, home and in their community. Such changes may include -

  • vocational education while in paid work,
  • caring, parenting and/or cultural responsibilities while in paid work,
  • managing health/medical issues while in paid work, and
  • reduced working hours whilst phasing in or out of paid work.

1 Requests for Work Life Balance benefits

1.1 Employees

At the core of Life Balance is a commitment by the University to provide employment conditions which are based on the right of employees to request flexible working arrangements. Employees are encouraged to access flexible work and leave benefits and should-

  • consider and be clear about what their needs are,
  • familiarise themselves with the various policies which provide Life Balance opportunities,
  • contact Human Resources to discuss the various options available,
  • discuss their circumstances and needs with their supervisor, and
  • exercise their capacity to seek a review of decision making by Director, Human Resources if they believe their request has not been fully or fairly considered.

1.2 Supervisors/Managers

The commitment of managers is paramount to the success of Life Balance strategies. Managers are responsible for implementing Life Balance policies and practices within their area of responsibility. Supervisors and managers are to -

  • familiarise themselves with the various policies which provide Life Balance opportunities,
  • contact Human Resources to discuss the various options available,
  • reasonably consider all requests for flexible work and leave arrangements in conjunction with the identified needs of the work area and the position in question, with the possibility of changing existing arrangements to accommodate these requests where feasible,
  • adopt particular sensitivity to employees' requests for flexibility to accommodate illness or disability, caring or cultural responsibilities,
  • recognise and support the changing priorities which may occur during an employees' work cycle, and
  • provide transparent and enforceable processes including provision of reasons for refusal of request in writing when a request for flexible work practices is refused.

2 Refusal

Managers can only refuse a reasonable request for work and leave flexibility on the basis of reasonable business grounds.

Possible grounds for refusing requests for flexible work or leave arrangements may include -

  • prohibitive costs associated with the change,
  • the arrangement would have significant detrimental effect on service delivery, and/or
  • a significant adverse impact on the organisation of work and performance of the work within the work area.

Application for Work or Leave Flexibility

Employees should -

- consider 1.1 above.

- submit an application to their Approved Delegate as outlined in the procedures of the various University flexible work and leave policies.

Supervisors/Managers should -

- consider all requests as outlined in 1.2 above.

Refusal of Request for Work or Leave Flexibility

Manager/supervisor

If the manager/supervisor has any reservations or queries about approving a request, they are to contact the appropriate area of Human Resources ( ERMS, Equity and Diversity or Safety and Health) for assistance before refusing the application on reasonable business grounds.

Following discussion with the employee and an explanation of any refusal of an application being provided in writing, the employee may exercise their capacity to seek a review by Director, Human Resources.

Employee

If an employee's application has been refused, they may choose to contact the appropriate area of Human Resources ( ERMS, Equity and Diversity or Safety and Health) for clarification of the refusal on reasonable business grounds. If the employee still considers any refusal unreasonable, they may exercise their capacity to seek a review of decision making by Director, Human Resources. The employee is to follow these four steps-

1. advise their manager/supervisor that they intend seeking a review
2. complete a Flexible Work and Leave - Refusal of Request form
3. forward the form to Director, Human Resources together with a copy of the original application and written reasons for refusal
4. provide a copy of the Flexible Work and Leave - Refusal of Request form to their manager/supervisor


Related forms:

Flexible Work and Leave - Refusal of Request form

TRIM File No:

F26670

Contact position:

Manager, Equity & Diversity

Related Policies or legislation:

View policies which support Life Balance

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