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Flexible working arrangements and how they can benefit your business

Flexible working arrangements can benefit your business in many ways. For example, they often lead to increased productivity as employees are more focused, happy and committed to their job when they are able to achieve a work-life balance.

Flexible working arrangements may also save you money by increasing efficiency (including use of workplace facilities), and reducing the costs of recruiting and inducting new employees.

However, some types of flexible working arrangements require extra planning and communication. For example, when an employee switches from standard full-time hours to a flexible arrangement, this can have a flow-on effect that requires you to make other changes to staffing. This may include assessing your team and the way your business is run, to ensure efficiency.

Types of flexible working arrangements include:

  • flexible working hours
  • a compressed working schedule
  • job share
  • telecommuting (e.g. working from home)
  • part-time work
  • special arrangements for mature-aged workers.

This guide explains some of the different types of flexible working arrangements and the benefits of each. It also provides strategies and tips to help you get the most out of flexible working arrangements in your business.

Flexible working hours

Employees on flexible working hours have staggered start and finish times and use accrued time (also known as flex-time).

These arrangements have no impact on their entitlements and there is no change to the total hours that employees work.

Staggered start and finish times

Staggered start and finish times enable employees to choose their time of arrival and departure, within the limits set by:

  • their relevant award - ordinary spread of hours (e.g. 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)
  • organisational core hours - designated periods of time during the day when employees are required to be at work (e.g. 10am to 4pm).

Accrued time

Accrued time is any authorised hours worked in excess of an employee's standard working requirements (e.g. 7.6 hours a day), which are worked within the ordinary spread of hours. Work performed outside the ordinary spread of hours may attract overtime or time off in lieu (TOIL), dependent on the award.

Time can be accrued when:

  • operational demands require employees to work beyond their standard working hours
  • employees require flexibility in the length of their workdays (e.g. an employee may want to work 5 hours on 1 day and make up their required hours during the rest of the week).

Once time is accrued, employees can apply to take accrued hours as either a full or part day's leave, depending on how many hours they have accrued, and provided business requirements are met.

Complying with your industrial award

Make sure that any accrued time arrangement complies with the relevant industrial award or agreement that covers your business.

Read about hours of work on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Employer benefits

For employers, the benefits of allowing flexible working hours include:

  • attracting a more diverse range of workers
  • the opportunity to extend your hours of operation when required
  • improved scheduling for peak workload by overlapping employees' schedules
  • a low-cost employee benefit, which can help retain staff
  • more efficient use of workplace facilities or equipment (through increased spread of hours in which they are used).

Employee requirements

Requests for flexible working arrangements under the Fair Work Act have to:

  • be in writing
  • explain what changes are being asked for
  • explain the reasons for the request.

Find out more about your employees' right to request flexible working arrangements.

Timesheets

Timesheets require employees to log how much time they work each day (and how much time they take for lunch and other breaks). Timesheets are an important tool for monitoring work hours, especially for employees on flexible working hours. However, there must also be trust between you and your employees.

Learn more about your record keeping obligations on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Example weekly staff work schedule

You can use a weekly staff work schedule to clearly communicate when staff will be in the office, working from home (telecommuting), or taking a day off.

Display the wall chart in a central location so everyone can see the information. Below is an example work schedule.

Team member Monday Tuesday Wednesday Staff meeting 10-11am Thursday Friday
Staff member A 8.30am - 5pm 8.30am - 4.45pm 8.30am - 4.45pm Working from home 8.30am - 4pm 8.30am - 12.30pm
 
Staff member B All day All day All day All day All day
   
Staff member C 8am - 5pm 8am - 5pm 8am - 5pm 8am - 5pm 8am - 5pm
 
Staff member D 8.15am - 5pm Working from home 9am - 5pm 9am - 5pm Day off 9am - 5pm
 
Staff member E 9am - 5pm 9am -5pm 9am - 11am 9am - 5pm 9am - 5pm
 
Staff member F Day off 8.30am - 4.15pm 9am - 4.30pm 9am - 5.30pm Day off

© The State of Queensland 2016

The content was first published on www.business.qld.gov.au

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