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Flexible Working procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 7 May 2024.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines Deakin’s ways of working, the range of flexible working arrangements available, and the ways in which these mutually beneficial arrangements can apply and be managed.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to all staff of the University. For staff employed on Senior Staff Performance Contracts, this Procedure applies subject to clause 19 of the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2023 (2023 EA).

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) This Procedure is pursuant to the Employment of Staff policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Ways of Working

(5) Deakin is dedicated to creating a flexible and inclusive work environment that emphasises the nature of work and fosters team connections.

(6) When considering the optimal ‘way of working’ for individuals and teams, leaders and team members should consider the following:

  1. the nature of the work and expectations of roles;
  2. the allocated and available workspace for teams;
  3. the operational needs of the wider-University and the on-campus experience of students;
  4. the individual and collective achievement, productivity, engagement, social and wellbeing needs of individuals and teams; and
  5. opportunities to be on campus to foster connections and experience planned and incidental learning and discussions.

Examples of flexible working arrangements

(7) There are a range of flexible working arrangements that, subject to the operational requirements of the University, leaders can agree to for their staff including but not limited to:

  1. working across a range of different settings including on-campus and off-campus locations;
  2. informal and ad hoc changes of hours to accommodate appointments or other commitments;
  3. varying start and finish times;
  4. reduced time fraction (part-time) on a temporary or permanent basis;
  5. job share opportunities;
  6. accessing flexible leave arrangements including purchased recreational leave, personal leave, wellbeing leave, parental leave, leave without pay, study leave, volunteering leave, gender affirmation leave and domestic and family violence leave; and
  7. for professional staff, flexible work patterns and hours in accordance with the 2023 EA (part-year or annualised employment).

(8) Staff may seek approval for more than one flexible work arrangement at any time during their employment.

(9) Flexible work arrangements can be short term or longer term and are determined by local area leaders.

(10) Discussions on flexible work arrangements should occur as part of DeakinAchieve conversations, as well as regular conversations between staff and leaders. Leaders should also consider what flexible work arrangements can be offered as part of the recruitment process to attract talent.

(11) Flexible work arrangements can sometimes be experimental and are subject to change. They should be regularly reviewed by leaders and staff to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the individual, the team and the University. Flexible work arrangements that can be supported by a leader may be different for different staff members.

(12) As part of enabling staff to work across a range of different settings, the University provides access to information and technology platforms and equipment. This enables staff to stay connected whether they are working at any University campus, from home or anywhere else.

(13) Off-campus workspaces, encompassing remote set-ups like home offices, must ensure a conducive environment that promotes safety and productivity. The University can direct a staff member to work at another location where it considers there is a risk to safety or productivity.

(14) There is no provision for staff to permanently work from Deakin Downtown as an alternative to, or substitute for, working on campus.

(15) If a leader or staff member requires support in relation to flexible working arrangement, they can speak to their Head Organisational area or contact People Connect (peopleconnect@deakin.edu.au) for assistance. Further information in relation to: the flexible work arrangements can be found on the Deakin Ways of Working page on DeakinHub.

Legal Obligations

(16) While Deakin has a clear commitment to encouraging flexible work arrangements for all staff members, for some individuals there are further legal obligations imposed upon Deakin in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in relation to flexible work entitlements.

(17) Staff who have been employed by the University for at least 12 months’ of continuous service, including a casual professional or sessional academic who has been engaged on a regular and systematic basis, are eligible to request a flexible work arrangement, provided they meet one of the following circumstances:

  1. a parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is of school age or younger; or
  2. a carer within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010; or
  3. have a disability; or
  4. 55 or older; or
  5. pregnant; or
  6. experiencing family and domestic violence; or 
  1. provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household, who requires care or support because they are experiencing family and domestic violence

(18) If a staff member meets the above personal circumstances, they are supported to raise a request for one or more flexible work arrangements directly with their leader.

(19) Before any decision is made in relation to a request by a staff member who meets the eligibility criteria in clause 17, the leader will discuss the the request with the staff member and make genuine efforts to reach agreement on a change in working arrangements that will reasonably accommodate the needs of the staff member and the needs of the local area.

(20) A leader should assess any requests with an inclusive, transparent and fair approach with the aim of working towards a mutually beneficial outcome for the staff member and the University.

(21) In considering flexible work arrangement requests, leaders should consider:

  1. the requirements of the staff member’s role, and any impact on their productivity, operational needs of the team and local area and the needs of any other stakeholders;
  2. the benefits for the staff member in supporting the request for flexibility;
  3. the consequences or impact on the staff member if the request is refused;
  4. whether any alternative flexible work arrangements can be supported;
  5. the University’s commitment to flexible work arrangements and commitment to increase the participation of women in leadership roles as detailed in the Gender Equity Plan;
  6. the duration of the requested flexible work arrangement and when and how often it will be reviewed; and
  7. any obligations the University has in accordance with section 26 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

(22) A decision must be made, with a written response provided to the staff member within 21 days of receiving the request.

(23) If this type of flexible working arrangement is supported by a leader it must be recorded in DeakinPeople either by the staff member and the leader or via People Connect (peopleconnect@deakin.edu.au).

(24) If a mutually beneficial flexible work arrangement is not immediately achievable, the leader should propose a timeframe in the future for when flexible work arrangement options can be revisited. The staff member may also seek a review of the request for a flexible work arrangement by the Chief People and Culture Officer (cp-co@deakin.edu.au) or nominee.

(25) The Chief People and Culture Officer or nominee may, in consultation with the staff member and the leader;

  1. confirm the leader’s decision;
  2. reconsider the leader’s response to the request;
  3. propose an alternate flexible work arrangement; or
  4. encourage further exploration of other flexible work arrangements by the leader and staff member.

(26) If the staff member or leader requires further advice and support in relation to a flexible work arrangement request, they can discuss this with their Head of Organisational Area or contact People Connect (peopleconnect@deakin.edu.au).

Recording a flexible work arrangement

(27) Where an agreed flexible work arrangement is required to be recorded in DeakinPeople (for example a reduction in time fraction, part-year employment or arrangements made as part of legal obligations) then the leader must immediately advise People Connect of this arrangement.

(28) All other flexible work arrangements are managed by local area leaders. Flexible work arrangements must be discussed and reviewed regularly by leaders as part of ongoing and regular conversations, and as part of a staff member’s DeakinAchieve discussions.

Managing caring responsibilities

(29) The University encourages staff to explore the various working options available to help them manage their caring and additional responsibilities.

(30) Staff are responsible for ensuring that any child or other dependent care arrangements that are in place whilst working from home do not impact their productivity and ability to perform their role.

(31) Further information is available in relation to:

  1. managing ongoing caring responsibilities (See Deakin Ways of Working on DeakinHub)
  2. parental leave and options for parents.

(32) The University is an accredited breastfeeding friendly workplace. Staff will be supported by their leader with flexible arrangements to support breastfeeding, including time off to breastfeed and/or flexible meal breaks and work commencement and finishing times. Breastfeeding facilities are available at all campuses.

(33) A staff member may request permission to bring a child on campus for a limited period of time. Approval of any such arrangement is at the discretion of the staff member’s leader who may approve the request in the following circumstances:

  1. the child will be under the direct personal supervision of a parent or guardian at all times, including at any campus catering facility or University Library;
  2. the child will not enter workshops, laboratories, special purpose classrooms, building sites or other spaces with potentially dangerous equipment;
  3. the child does not have an infectious medical condition;
  4. the child’s attendance is in line with University regulations, policies and procedures and the directives of the University; and
  5. the attendance of the child is consistent with the University’s Child Safety policy.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(34) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. carer: is a person on whom another person is wholly or substantially dependent for ongoing care and attention, or who shares ongoing daily care substantially equally with another person, other than a person who provides that care and attention wholly or substantially on a commercial basis.
  2. child: is a person under the age of 18.
  3. parent: is a person who has sole or shared responsibility for a child including but not limited to a step-parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, same sex parent or guardian.
  4. staff member: includes a person who is offered employment by the University, even if that person has not commenced working for the University.