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Central Policies, Local Discretion: A Review of Employee Access to Work-Life Balance Arrangements in a Public Sector Agency


  • Colley, L.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Colley, L., 2010. "Central Policies, Local Discretion: A Review of Employee Access to Work-Life Balance Arrangements in a Public Sector Agency," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 36(2), pages 214-235.
  • Handle: RePEc:fli:journl:25973
    Note: Colley, L. 2010. Central Policies, Local Discretion: A Review of Employee Access to Work-Life Balance Arrangements in a Public Sector Agency. Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp.214-235.

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    1. Roberts, Anna M. & Pannell, David J. & Doole, Graeme & Vigiak, Olga, 2012. "Agricultural land management strategies to reduce phosphorus loads in the Gippsland Lakes, Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 11-22.
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