How Parents Can Get Flexible Work in Australia

flexible work for parents in australiia

Many people want to know how to get more flexible work in Australia so they can spend more time with their family.

If the start of the new decade has you reflecting on your life, and what matters most to you, you certainly aren’t alone. It’s major milestones like New Years and New Decades as well as a new baby,  a bereavement, and milestone birthdays that tend to bring about this type of reflective thinking in people. If one of your goals is to spend more time with your family then exploring a more flexible job arrangement may be on your ‘to do’ list for this year.

It is important when planning this sort of career change to think carefully about what it is that matters to you most and to understand your non-negotiables. A flexible work arrangement that works for one person, or family, may not work for another.

Flexibility can mean different things to different people. For some it means part time work, or less than the traditional 38 or 40-hour week. In some cases, this is working shorter hours five days a week, and in other cases it means working less than five days a week. For others it means flexibility with work start and finish times, perhaps to accommodate school drop off or pick up or after school activities. For others, again, it means taking a period of time off or a career break so that they can travel with family or pursue their special family or parent interests. For others, it may mean working from home.

When considering a career change for greater work flexibility, it is also important to reflect on your own personal values, skills, abilities, talents, motivations and limitations. Self awareness is the key here to ensuring you match your needs and wants with your new work situation. It is also important to recognise that, at times, the quest for greater flexibility often comes with some compromise. In some instances, this is reduced earnings, career progression and/or job satisfaction or challenge. It is important to be realistic about the compromises you are prepared to make. If you feel you lack clarity about what flexible you want, and what compromises you are prepared to make, working with a career counsellor to unpack your true needs and desires from the ‘noise’ can be a very worthwhile exercise.

Your professional expertise, background, and education, together with your geographical location, can have a significant impact on the flexible opportunities that may be available to you. We often find that different roles, occupations, industries and even companies have different appetites and abilities to accommodate flexible work. It is important to be realistic in this regard and a career counsellor can be a useful expert to assist you reflect on, and understand, your options.

Once you are armed with a clear vision about what sort of flexibility you desire and the compromises you are, and are not, prepared to make then you should be well placed to start exploring your options.

Avenues to increase your flexible work arrangements may include:

1/. Your Current Job

Asking your current employer for greater flexibility. Under Australian legislation employees now have the legal right to request flexible work arrangements and employers are now required to consider every request for flexibility on its own merits. While your employer has to right to reject a request based on their business’ needs, now more than ever, employees have the genuine opportunity to explore with their current employers part-time work or greater flexibility.

To learn more about your rights and employer responsibilities we recommend visiting the Australian Government’s Fairwork website at

2/. A New Job

Where your current employer is unable to meet your flexible work needs, you may want to explore moving on to another employer. Some employers actively attempt to attract talent to their business through the flexibility offering. This public sector has policies that heavily support employees and candidates with their flexible needs. It is worthwhile looking at our blog of government websites that advertise current vacant positions.

In addition to the Australian, State and local government sectors, there are many private employers who are recognised that by offering workplace flexibility they are able to attract the very best in the labour market. We have researched Australia’s leading jobsites and specialised platforms for those seeking flexible work arrangements.  There are a number of recruitment agencies that specialise in flexible work. These include,, and  (formally Also may be worth a look for women and for senior management roles.

3/.  Casual or Consulting Work

Another option to explore is consulting or casual work where your occupation allows. Consulting or casual work allows you to pick and choose the work, and the timing of the work, you wish to undertake. It should be noted though the consulting work tends to run in peaks and troughs and your earnings can be impacted also. The same can be said the casual work. For instance, retail sales and warehousing work tend to have more opportunities around Christmas time. is a website designed to recruit contract workers. It may also be worthwhile looking at for blue collar/unskilled casual task based/project jobs. For project based casual in the arts like graphic design, software, or artistic and artistic technology capabilities. Websites like or may be useful to register with.

4/. Self Employment

A further option to increase flexibility is self-employment. Many women particularly start their own business to accommodate their own flexible needs. Self-employment is not for the faint hearted however as revenue peaks and troughs can be very stressful for people who are relying on cash flow to survive. Many women who have administrative skills have started home-based businesses working during school hours doing customer service roles and virtual assistant roles. Others try their hands at sales focused or multi level marketing (MLM) businesses like Tupperware, Arbonne, Thermomix, and the like.

About Us:

Let’s Talk Career is a leading Australian career counselling, career coaching and outplacement organisation. We have coaches in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Perth. We also undertake video based and phone counselling for clients in Tasmania, Canberra, remote Australia and, in fact, throughout the world.

Visit our website ( to learn more about how we can support you in your job search. We are able to assist you with resume development and refinement, advice on dealing with recruitment agencies, interview technique, advice negotiating flexible work and new job offers – everything you need to get the flexibility you want to work best for your family. We work with those who are just starting in their careers through to senior managers so contact us today.

Career counselling pricing starts at $399+gst for a 1.5 hour initial session and $299+gst for 1 hour follow up sessions. To book  –

We would be delighted for you to reproduce our articles, as long as they remain intact and contain the author’s details as follows: Kris Reynolds is Managing Partner at Let’s Talk Career ( in Australia. Kris can be contacted on 1800 284 255 or



Kris has over 20 years executive HR and executive coaching experience in Australian corporates. With a Masters Degree in Leadership, she works with senior executives to both improve their leadership performance and achieve greater career satisfaction.

Author: Kris

Kris has over 20 years executive HR and executive coaching experience in Australian corporates. With a Masters Degree in Leadership, she works with senior executives to both improve their leadership performance and achieve greater career satisfaction.

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