Central Policies, Local Discretion: A Review of Employee Access to Work-Life Balance Arrangements in a Public Sector Agency
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Work-life balance is one of the leading contemporary issues in the Australian employment environment, driven by both employee demands and employer desire to attract employees in a tight labour market. This article is about the important issue of employee experiences of work-life balance, and uses a public sector case study to consider progress and identify issues yet to be resolved. The research considers the extent of the work-life balance policy framework in the case study agency, employees' awareness of their work-life balance options, and employee perceptions about access to flexible working arrangements. The research finds that the agency has a solid policy framework and reasonably high levels of awareness. But it identifies a gap between employees' awareness and their perceptions of access, and uncovers many local-level barriers to access to flexible working arrangements. The article concludes that, to ensure employees have access to work-life balance, the agency should shift its focus to implementation of the policy framework through activities such as education and culture change activities.