Appendix 1 — Overview of flexible work in schools
The context for flexible work in schools
Understand the context for flexible work in Victorian schools:
- the case for flexibility
- shared roles and responsibilities
- Think creatively when requesting and evaluating requests for workplace flexibility. Explore ways of meeting requests at different life stages (part-time work is only 1 option).
- Be open to preliminary discussions about preferences and options. Be clear about the range of flexible work options (including technology support) available to support individual needs.
Policy and legislation
- Be familiar with Department policy and relevant legislation.
The steps to making and evaluating requests for flexible work
Step 1 Preparation
- Use the self-assessment tool to help identify what work-life balance you are trying to achieve.
- Have a preliminary discussion with your principal and become familiar with the school’s procedures for making a request.
- Refer to and consider which options best suit your needs.
- Have a process for recording receipt of written requests from employees. Develop a tracking system to ensure decisions are made and communicated to applicants within 21 days from receipt of the written proposal. If circumstances prevent this, seek the agreement of the employee.
Step 2 The written proposal
- Prepare a request for a flexible work arrangement using the Flexible Work Proposal Template (available on the tab)
- Submit the request and receive an acknowledgement slip.
- Request a written proposal if a verbal proposal is made.
- Encourage the employee to use the Flexible Work Self-Assessment and Flexible Work Proposal Template to conduct their own appraisal of how a flexible arrangement might work (refer to the tab)
- Ensure that written proposals are processed appropriately.
Step 3 Plan for a discussion
- Consider the key issues that principals must consider when making their decision. Work out possible solutions for potential problem areas.
- Commence assessing the proposal using the Flexible Work Evaluation Template (available on the tab)
- Plan for a meeting to discuss the proposal, set a date and time.
Step 4 Meeting
- Have a meeting with the principal and present your case. Focus on mutual gains and be prepared to negotiate a variety of options.
- Be open to suggestions.
- Reflect on the employee’s situation, work style and factors which are relevant to the conversation.
- Discuss the details of the proposal. If the discussion becomes a negotiation, refer to your Flexible Work Evaluation Template. Consider what would constitute a good outcome.
Step 5 Decision
- Consider the written decision. If you are unhappy with the decision, or aspects of it, discuss your concerns with the principal.
- Is there a particular aspect that is causing difficultly and which could be changed to make the proposal more workable?
- Consider the request on its merits. Consider the impact on school goals and student learning. Do not deny a request just because of potential flow-on effects, for example, concern that approving 1 request will trigger further requests. Consider all requests on a case-by-case basis.
- Ensure decision-making is informed by the
- If approving — ensure you are clear about what you are approving.
- If not approving — ensure your decision is based on reasonable business grounds.
- Complete the Flexible Work Evaluation Template.
- Check have you involved the person making the request and other stakeholders in your decision-making process?
- Check have you followed the assessment steps?
- Check have you carefully documented the decision and the factors considered in making the decision?
Step 6 Agreement
- If accepted, document the arrangement in a written agreement using the Flexible Work Agreement Template (refer to the tab)
- Start with a trial period.
- Confirm the arrangement with the employee’s direct line manager or supervisor (if any).
- Clarify whether the agreement is full implementation or for a trial period.
- Complete the Flexible Work Agreement Template.
Implementation (if approved)
- Make any necessary adjustments to work arrangements.
- Ensure the job description and duty statement clearly identifies required duties.
- Ensure workload is consistent with agreed arrangements.
- Consider any supervision or support requirements.
Meetings and training
- What arrangements need to be made to ensure access to regular meetings? For example, staff, parent, stakeholder meetings.
- Put strategies in place to ensure the arrangement is effectively communicated to the school community.
- Consider the ways of maintaining communication with staff working in flexible work arrangements if they are offsite.
- Ensure issues around flexible work arrangements can be aired in a professional and safe manner and that co-workers can express concerns.
Attitudes and support
- Recognise the effort of all involved.
Review and improve
- Consider how the arrangement can be reviewed on a periodic basis. Set time frames.
The flexible work agreement should include criteria to assess the outcome of the arrangement, such as:
- impact on teaching and learning
- impact on team work
- impact on student needs
- impact on workplace effectiveness
- consideration of parents’ views
- personal performance
- impact on supervisory or managerial responsibilities
- Assess the outcome of the arrangement against the agreed criteria.
- Discuss the arrangement with the individual, supervisor, team members to assess its outcomes
- Fine-tune arrangements in light of feedback.
Overview of flexible work in schools for Flexible Work policy
Reviewed 03 April 2020