‘Work and family policies’ are workplace policies that recognise the importance of people’s family and other responsibilities without jeopardising their livelihood. They encompass a range of policies, but two of the most important are allowing employees to take different types of leave – such as parental leave and leave for care of family members – and allowing them flexibility with regard to working hours, times and locations. These policies were developed in the 1990s and judged to be good for businesses, helping them to attract and retain valued staff, among other things. Precisely because they recognise the needs of individuals, work and family policies clearly fit comfortably within the theoretical frameworks of managing diversity, with its emphasis on policies and practices that promote individual rather than collective group priorities. In Australia, only a few of these policies are underpinned by legislation, and studies of organisational practice show that employees’ working conditions and access to ‘work and family’ policies varies widely between industries and organisations.
Managing Diversity in Australia: Theory and Practice p. 89-106