Flexible Work Practices

In October 2016, WLAQ has long encouraged firms to adopt flexible work practices to assist with retention of staff (particularly female lawyers). Flexible work practices can include certain arrangements to hours of work, patterns of work and location of work. However, WLAQ understands that not all firms have the resources available to implement such practices, or may not understand ways in which they can help their employees.

To assist WLAQ has drafted this guide to what flexible working practices could look like in your workplace, and encourages all members to approach their firms to discuss changes if they want to implement flexible work practices.

  • Allowing staff to change their ‘set’ work hours from the traditional 8.30am to 5pm accommodate individual circumstances.
  • Genuinely considering part-time working requests.
  • Instead of a set part-time arrangement, allowing practitioners to work, for example, 0.7 or 0.8 FTE on days relevant to that practitioner’s practice needs.
  • Working full time hours in compressed days.
  • Scheduling CLEs at times when part-time staff are in the office.
  • Ensure that social events are not always held before or after general work hours.
  • Paying for, or organising, parking for staff who need to attend work on scheduled days off.
  • Providing a resource for emergency child care, and easy access to resources provided through the Queensland Law Society.
  • Encouraging work from home where able (while ensuring health and safety requirements have been addressed).
  • Having access to portable work equipment, including laptops and remote internet access, to allow work from home.
  • A dedicated feeding room for breastfeeding mothers (with the aim of becoming an accredited breastfeeding workplace).
  • Allowing access to personal leave for caring for immediate and extended family, including grandparents and step-children.
    Implementing domestic and family violence leave policies, and dedicated domestic violence leave.
  • Contributing to travel costs associated with attending work following injury or illness.

Not all arrangements need to be formal, with many firms adopting a ‘swings and roundabout’ approach for one-off circumstances. Any ongoing arrangement should be confirmed in writing. If any firm has difficulty with drafting of formal arrangements, including a policy, they are encouraged to contact WLAQ and we will assist in connecting the firm with a contact from a member firm.

Flexible work practices should apply to all employees, not just those with parental responsibilities. WLAQ would like to hear from those who have implemented ‘non-traditional’ practices in their firms and share their stories with us.

Part Time Maternity Leave Support

In August 2016, WLAQ introduced an initiative to support those women who are working part-time following a return to work or are on maternity leave, referred to as PTML (Part Time Maternity Leave).

This initiative includes providing access to half price tickets to all events (except for the Annual Awards Dinner).

Return to Work Assistance

WLAQ supports the work of Circle In, which provides practical assistance for those returning to work and workplace strategy.  WLAQ also partnered with Work180 (previously DCC Jobs) to ensure that our members have direct access to employers that are proven to offer flexible work arrangements.

If you require specific assistance with returning to work, please contact WLAQ.