Last week the Federal Government released the final report on the review of the Fair Work Act. One important recommendation was that the right to request flexible working arrangements under the National Employment Standards be extended to a wider range of caring and other circumstances. DCA supports this recommendation as it will assist in increasing the participation of people with caring responsibilities and mature-age workers.
According to DCA research, almost one in five (18%) employees reported that they had considered resigning due to lack of flexibility. People who were finding it very difficult to manage their work-life were six times more likely to consider resigning and make a genuine effort to find a job with another employer within the next year.
In addition, DCA research into retirement intentions has found that, of those who have ceased to work (many to ‘retire’ in the traditional sense), almost one in three are interested in returning to work to participate in the labour market actively, and workplace flexibility was a key factor in their decision to return to work. The research also found that many mature-age people have caring responsibilities for elderly family members, children, grandchildren or a family member with health issues or with a disability.
Nareen Young, DCA’s CEO said while leading practice employers, as exemplified by many DCA members, are already putting in place comprehensive workplace flexibility programs, it is clear that more tools are needed to further embed mutually beneficial flexibility practice in workplaces:
“Our most recent research, Get Flexible: Mainstreaming Flexible Work in Australian Business, found many people have access to ‘basic’ flexible work options, but meaningful flexible work and careers are not common practice in Australian workplaces. The ability to work part-time and/or flexible hours is a critical enabler for people with caring responsibilities and mature-age workers. Proposed changes to the Fair Work Act in this area would go some way towards recognising the need for this flexibility.
“The good news is that both employees and employers can benefit from flexible working in a number of ways – including improved productivity and performance, sustainability, employee engagement, health and job satisfaction, and attraction and retention of people talent,” said Nareen.
The Government is currently considering the recommendations of the report.
DCA members can access DCA’s Diversity Practitioner’s Guide on the proposed changes to the Fair Work Actby clicking here.