Flexible work and work-life balance issues are in high profile in the community and demand for flexible work in the Australian workforce is increasing significantly. The trend is driven by labour market, social, demographic and legislative changes. It is a trend which is growing as the representation of women, parents, carers, and older workers increases.

Flexible working arrangements can help employees balance the changing demands of their work and personal life and can benefit the employer by contributing to improved performance and productivity. Flexible work opportunities may also assist to attract and retain people with valuable skills and is an important contributor to the optimal participation of diverse groups in the workforce such as older workers, employees with disabilities and those with family and caring responsibilities. In multi-generational workforces, differing life cycle demands may result in any staff member requesting flexible work arrangements.

The Department recognises the importance of flexible work options and family friendly work practices in maintaining a diverse, adaptive and high performing workforce able to meet current and future needs.


Workplace flexibility which supports the needs of the individual and the workplace enhances human capital and is important in relation to:

  • attracting and retaining highly skilled and competent employees
  • increasing levels of employee engagement
  • tapping new and diverse sources of talent
  • supporting work-life balance
  • contributing to employee health and well-being
  • developing an innovative and agile workforce
  • reducing absenteeism
  • offering broad subject choice and role models to students
  • allowing schools to compete favourably for talent as skills shortages grow

'To do' — flexibility in your school

Decide what 4 factors (or more) drive the case for flexibility in your school

Challenges and opportunities

The benefits of workplace flexibility only accrue if certain conditions are in place. A supportive climate for flexibility and effectively making and managing requests is critical.

In the context of schools, a range of factors will inform an approach to flexibility that effectively meets school needs and makes the most of talent capabilities. To ensure that flexibility enhances teaching and learning, arrangements need to be based on reciprocity, proactive planning and informed judgement.

Introduction for Flexible Work

Reviewed 03 April 2020

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