Worklife balance case studies

Following are some examples of where the manager and the employee have reached a fair and flexible decision in meeting flexible work arrangements: 

Case study 1

An Aboriginal woman in a remote community approached her manager to talk about the difficulty she is having working, caring for her family and 4 children and the need to attend frequent ceremonies.   The options available were discussed and it was agreed that she work 7 hours each day instead of the usual 5 hours.  This way she was able to build up her flex time which gave her opportunity to attend cultural activities when required - this is working really well and both parties are happy with the outcome. 

Flexible work practices were approved for an A06 employee wanting to convert her annual recreation leave into half pay.  This person works in a small work unit within the city and likes to travel overseas every couple of years to visit family.  

The employee had a discussion with her colleagues as to who could take over specific areas of her position – ‘can you do it?, are you available? and are you willing to take on the extra duties?’.  With this information she then approached her manager with her request and how her workload could be shared within the unit, she provided her manager with both ‘the problem and the solution’ for him to then make his decision.  With this a positive outcome was reached for both parties.

Case study 2

A woman from the Tiwi Islands who now lives and works in Darwin was told about purchasing additional recreation leave to attend frequent cultural ceremonies back home.  She discussed this with her supervisor and she now has the extra time to attend these ceremonies when required.

”Since I had our children, I have worked in a part-time capacity for most of my career in the Northern Territory Public Sector. That was over 16 years ago. Part-time was an attainable option for me, without loss of benefits or becoming marginalised in the workplace. In fact, in all instances the team I have worked with have been very supportive and inclusive of my preference to work part-time. They even schedule team meetings or events around my part-time arrangement so that I can attend.

My part-time arrangement includes working normal hours from Monday to Thursday. The arrangement was negotiated with my manager and formalised by a written proposal that is reviewed about every six months or so.
As a parent who now has some responsibility for also caring for an ageing mother-in-law, working part-time has lessened the anxiety around wanting to do the best for my family while acknowledging that my career and personal development is also very important.

As a conscientious employee, I do put in tremendous effort from Monday to Thursday to gain a high level of personal satisfaction in contributing to work outcomes, achieving and succeeding. I am prepared and happy to do this in order to have the work/life balance I need as a parent and carer. Another upside is that I have become skilled at focusing attention on the job at hand and maximising my time at work. Fridays are reserved for family appointments, which negates the need to be away from the workplace to attend to personal business.

In a nutshell, part-time employment has been a wonderful life changing experience for me.”

Applying for flexible work arrangement are assessed on a case by case basis, as everyone’s needs are different.  Managers still need to balance the needs of the agency to deliver its services to the community through its people when making their decision on flexible work arrangements.

Please note: Compassionate leave, carers leave and special leave without pay are other options that are available to support employees meeting their cultural obligations.

Last updated: 23 November 2016

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