An employee guide to requesting flexible work arrangements
Step 1 Preparation
- Complete the Work-Life Balance Self-Assessment (available on the tab) and consider your circumstances and the options available to you.
- Have a preliminary discussion with the principal to let her or him know you are considering options to address your work-life balance needs.
- Become familiar with the administrative processes for making a request and the .
Step 2 Complete and submit a written proposal
- Complete the Flexible Work Proposal template (refer to the tab)
- Consider what will be involved to make the arrangements in the proposal work.
- Submit the proposal.
Scenario — a proposal for a working remotely arrangement
A business manager has an exceptionally long commute and has requested a working remotely arrangement for 2 days a week to save time and reduce the stress of peak time travel.
A proposal which includes an analysis of the amount of time spent on face-to-face tasks and individual-based tasks has been developed. A convincing case has been made that a working remotely arrangement would enable all tasks to be effectively undertaken, while also improving work-life balance and well-being.
A well-researched proposal assists decision-making. There are a range of considerations in relation to telecommuting. Refer to the Working Remotely Guidelines on the tab for assistance to support decision-making and (if approved) implementation.
Step 3 Plan for a discussion
- Prepare some notes to make sure that you will be able to discuss your proposal confidently.
- Examine the criteria that principals consider when assessing proposals for flexible work and understand the issues.
- Think through any objections and consider solutions.
Scenario — a principal’s concern
'There are too many people in this school working part-time, we have reached saturation point'.
While this is not simply a numbers issue, in some instances this concern may be justified. You might clarify with the principal precisely what issues are of concern and then work together to resolve them. Often people will find ways to make some adjustments if they know what the problem is and it is in everyone’s interest to get a good outcome.
Step 4 Discuss the proposal in a meeting
- Present your case with a focus on mutual gains — addressing your needs and meeting work objectives.
- Use objective criteria, including the guiding principles, to support a fair result.
- Don’t assume that the subject of your negotiation is 1 fixed option — be open to suggestions.
Carers and parents versus other work-life balance reasons
Scenario — a principal’s concern
'You are asking for a flexible work arrangement, but you have no carer or parental responsibilities. I think we have to respond to carers and parents as a priority, so I am sorry, I am refusing this request'.
Suggest that you discuss this further. You might ask the principal to reflect on how many requests are likely to be made and what impact is expected on the school. Consider asking the principal to openly raise the issue of flexibility with employees to find out what level of uptake there is likely to be. The application could then be assessed in the context of the school's workforce plan.
Step 5 Consider the decision
- You will be informed of the decision in writing and possibly verbally.
- If the request has been declined or significantly modified and you are unhappy with the decision, read through the reasons given and discuss your position with the principal. Principals are expected to consider each request on its merits, and show reasonable business grounds for declining a request.
- Seek advice as to what you might do as a next step as there may be an option to change some aspect of the proposal which would make it more workable.
- If the request is declined and you feel that you have reasonable grounds to seek a review of the decision, you can lodge a grievance.
Step 6 If the request is accepted, complete an agreement and start with a trial
- The proposal needs to be formalised in a written agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the flexible work arrangement.
- Flexible arrangements should be altered (with negotiation and agreement) to meet changing school or individual circumstances.
- Flexible arrangements need to be regularly reviewed and are generally not transferrable to new roles.
Reviewed 03 April 2020