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FLEXIBLE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS
Flexible working arrangements and sex
On the whole there were minor differences in the use of flexible working arrangements between sexes, with 44% of males and 40% of females not making use of any flexible working arrangements in the 12 months prior to October 2010. Females did however report almost twice the use of 'Working shorter hours for an agreed period of time' (11%) than males (6%).
Flexible working arrangements and full-time/part-time employment type
A greater proportion of part-time employees of both sexes did not use any flexible working arrangements, possibly indicating that some of the need for flexible working arrangements is met by working part-time. For both males and females, nearly twice the proportion of full-time employees had worked from home or an alternative workplace in the 12 months prior to October 2010 than part-time employees. This pattern is repeated with a higher proportion of full-time employees making use of flextime, choosing when to take annual leave and purchasing extra annual leave than their part-time counterparts.
Flexible working arrangements and marital status
Both married males and married females made comparatively more use of flexible working arrangements than their unmarried counterparts, with 65% of married people compared with 47% of unmarried people using flexible working arrangements. For each group, choosing when to take annual leave was the most utilised flexible working arrangement, however married people made significantly more use of that arrangement (55%) than the unmarried (39%).
Flexible working arrangements and household/family type
People in families with children used a higher proportion of all of the flexible working arrangements than families with no children. This perhaps reflects that people use their flexible working arrangements to help manage their family responsibilities. The largest difference was shown in the use of flextime. Nearly one-third of people in families with children used flextime (32%) compared with just over 21% of families without children used flextime.
Flexible working arrangements and sector of employment
People who worked in the government sector used a higher proportion of flexible working arrangements than their colleagues in the private sector, with 67% of government sector employees having used some form of flexible working arrangement in the last year compared with 56% of private sector employees. There was little difference in the use of working from home, working shorter hours or purchasing extra annual leave between those working in the private and government sectors. However, a significantly higher proportion of people working in the government sector choose their start and finish times and chose when to take annual leave than their private sector counterparts.
Commonwealth government employees utilised proportionally more flexible working arrangements than state and local government employees. For example, 58% of commonwealth employees used flextime compared with 33% and 30% for local and state government employees respectively. No significant differences in the use of any of the flexible working arrangements were identified between state and local government employees.
Flexible working arrangements and industry
Differences in the use of flexible working arrangements were apparent between industries. Employees working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry and the accommodation and food services industry used the least flexible working arrangements with 63% of all workers in both industries reporting they had not used any flexible working arrangements in the 12 months prior to October 2010.
Flexible working arrangements and occupation
There were noticeable differences between occupation groups in the use of flexible working arrangements. Choosing when to take annual leave was the most commonly used flexible working arrangement in all occupations with proportions estimated at between 65% for managers and 33% for labourers. A higher proportion of managers worked from home or an alternate workplace than other occupations with 32% of managers working from home at some stage in the 12 months prior to October 2010. Machine operators and drivers are the least likely to work from home or an alternative work place. Purchasing extra annual leave was the least commonly used arrangement in all occupations.
Flexible working arrangements and reasons for use
Information was collected on the reasons workers had made use of flexible working arrangements in the 12 months prior to October 2010. Possible reasons included health, pregnancy, personal, work, transport considerations, unpaid caring responsibilities, unpaid volunteering activities and any 'other' reasons. Respondents were able to nominate multiple reasons for using flexible working arrangements.
Of all reasons people made use of flexible working arrangements, personal reasons were predominant with 62% of all people who used flexible working arrangements having reported doing so for personal reasons.
An estimated 1% of people used flexible working arrangements for transportation reasons.
The estimates for people who used flexible working arrangements to allow them to meet their unpaid caring and unpaid voluntary work responsibilities were 2% and 0.1% respectively.
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