Creating a family-friendly workplace

If you have employees that are starting, growing or caring for their family, any time is a good time to review your family-friendly workplace arrangements. The Fair Work Ombudsman has found that businesses that support employees as they start or grow their families are more likely to hold onto skilled and dedicated staff.

Here are some ways to create a family-friendly workplace

1. Create a family-friendly culture

You can start creating a family-friendly culture that support parents in your business by offering paid and unpaid leave, personal leave for caring of sick or injured children, allowing parents to return to the same job and offering Keeping in Touch days during parental leave.

2. Provide flexible working arrangements

You may also consider providing flexible working arrangements suitable to the needs of your employees. This may include job sharing, shift work or teleworking arrangements.

3. Develop internal policies

To support you in developing a family-friendly culture and offering flexible working arrangements in your business, it is important to develop internal policies to help educate and guide your employees. Having policies that encourage a work/life balance can benefit your employees while still allowing your business needs to be met.

How family-friendly is your business?

Take the test! Rate the family-friendliness of your business by seeing how many of the following options you provide to your employees:

Flexible work hours

  • Part time hours: offering reduced-hour working weeks (less than 38 hours).
  • Flexible hours: allowing staff to work earlier or later in the day.
  • Compressed hours: working four days a week instead of five by working longer hours.

Flexible work arrangements

  • Job sharing: where two or more people on part-time hours share one full-time job.
  • Teleworking: where staff work from home, mobile offices or public places.

Leave arrangements

  • Paid Parental Leave: includes adoption leave. Minimum entitlements for Paid Parental Leave apply to all employees in Australia.
  • Family/carers leave: allowing for leave to be taken when a family emergency occurs.
  • Purchased leave: allowing your staff to get extra leave by reducing their annual salary.
  • Unpaid leave for school holidays: allowing staff with school-aged children to take unpaid leave during school holidays.

Workplace policies

  • Talking to employees about leave policies: this is a great way to find out what your employees value in a family-friendly workplace.
  • Subsidies for childcare
  • Return to work support: offering programmes that help employees return to work after extended leave, including Keep in Touch days.
  • Allowing parents to return to the same job

How did you rate?

If you offer some of these arrangements already, congratulations! You’re on your way to creating a family-friendly workplace.

When creating and implementing your policies, remember that your staff may value different options depending on their circumstances. Their needs, and the needs of your business, also change over time. Being flexible and reasonable is the key.

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