Tag Archives: Australia

Can flexible working work for men?

Annabel Crabb in conversation with four men, each working flexible hours in various careers. What are the perceptions of men working flexible hours and how does this affect their careers, colleagues and family life?

WAF note: Key points mentioned here about the flexibility bias, how to eliminate them, and how to manage a flexible working workers – and finally flexibility is NOT only about reducing hours!

via the Australian Government’s  Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Helping men get work-life balance can help everyone

Laura Good, Deborah Towns and Jesse E. Olsen, from the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne, discuss work-life balance, workplace gender inequality, and an innovative Australian programme to encourage more men to take-up flexible working arrangements.

Women’s increased participation in the labour force over the past 50 years has outpaced changes to work organisation and social attitudes. This is true for issues of work-life balance, which continue to polarise workers and managers.

But work-life balance and gender equality are not only women’s issues. They belong to men, too. Continue reading

Men wanting more time for parenting must demand flexible workplaces – The Age

In Australia, it remains taken for granted that women will take primary responsibility for childcare. It is women who are overwhelmingly the stay-at-home child carers, and women who work part-time to accommodate childcare needs.

While many men might want to take on childcare responsibility there are factors that prevent them from doing so. The gender pay gap means that men often earn more than their female partners, making it more likely women who will give up work. It’s also the case that too few workplaces in Australia offer flexible work arrangements.

This lack of flexible working arrangements make it difficult for men to take on childcare responsibilities. Importantly, however, men must be active in asking for flexible work, to shift cultural expectations and make it the norm.

Read more at The Age.

Staff think flexible working can make them seem lazy – Business Insider

A survey of 500 hiring managers and more than 1,500 professionals across Australia and New Zealand has shown what employers and employees fear most about flexible working.

For staff, the biggest concern is that they’ll be perceived as lazy (51%). This is followed by fear that flexible work will have negative impacts on their career progression (43%) and fear of resentment from co-workers (38%).

Employers are most concerned about not treated all employees equally (51%). There are also issues of trust, the following two concerns being employee abuse of flexible policies (49%) and difficulty in supervising employees who work flexibly (44%).

Read more at Business Insider.

New campaign encourages men to take up flexible work patterns – news.com.au

The Australian  Workplace Gender Equality Agency is launching a campaign to challenge the idea that juggling a job with raising children is largely a woman’s problem.

The Equilibrium Man Challenge aims to increase gender equality in the workforce by promoting flexible working among men. As well as encouraging better work-life balance among men, normalising such arrangements will help reduce ‘flexibility stigma‘ and workplace discrimination often faced  by working mums who are viewed as seeking ‘special treatment’.

Read more at news.com.au

Why the gap between policy & practice in flexible work is costing women their careers – Women’s Agenda

This article notes that the last five years have seen an increase in policies providing access to flexible work in Australia. However, it points to new research that suggests policies are not being used effectively.

It suggests that the disconnect between the policy and the practice is a result of a lack of awareness among both employees and managers about the how flexible working policies are meant to operate. It notes that mangers, as gatekeepers, are blocking access to flexible work as they lack understanding of how to operationalise policy. Moreover, employee’s lack of awareness as to their entitlements also poses a barrier to access.

Read more on Women’s Agenda.

Work Life Balance: A Failing Trend? – Business Review Australia

This article notes that Australians work an average of 6 hours a week unpaid overtime, worth around AU$110 billion each year. It suggests that workers are worried about job insecurity and high expectations, leading to falling work-life balance and increased stress.

The author suggests that Australian businesses need to implement work-life balance programmes, rather than treat it as a buzzword.

Read more at Business Review Australia.

Non-standard work arrangements and national context – Kassinis and Stavrou

Using a sample of 1,893 companies across 15 countries, the authors examine the relationship between public expenditure on national family-leave policies, employment legislation and culture, and use of flexible working.

They find that these three areas of expenditure influence the use of flexible working, but that this depends on both context and type of flexible working. As such, they stress that researchers should consider both the national and institutional environments when designing and interpreting research on flexible working.

Kassinis, George I.; Stavrou, Eleni T. (2013) “Non-standard work arrangements and national context” European Management Journal, 31

Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0263237313000479

Contesting Time: International Comparisons of Employee Control of Working Time – Peter Berg et al.

Drawing from interviews with managers, public sector policy-makers and administrators, and union leaders, this article demonstrates that workers‘ control over working time is affected by

  • the institutional and regulatory environment within the country
  • labor market conditions
  • management and labor union strategies

Employees in countries, such as Germany, Sweden and Netherlands, with extensive collective bargaining, high labour union density/coverage, and labour representatives focussed on working time issues, have increased collective control over working time.

Employee control over working time is unevenly distributed in countries with weaker labour institutions, and tends to reflect more closely the employers interests.

Berg, Peter; Appelbaum, Eileen; Bailey, Tom; and Kalleberg, Arne L. (2004) “Contesting Time: International Comparisons of Employee Control of Working Time” Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 57(3)

Available at: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/ilrreview/vol57/iss3/1