The RBA recognises that having policies and practices that allow employees to manage their career and other life commitments more effectively is important in attracting and retaining high-performing employees.
Training senior managers to support flexible working
The RBA has pursued a number of initiatives relating to workplace flexibility, with the primary focus on providing training to senior managers about responding to flexible work requests, as well as raising their awareness of unconscious biases and workplace legal matters.
A new framework for workplace flexibility was implemented, which sets out the policy as well as guidelines and resources to assist employees and managers to request, respond to and manage flexible work requests. It also sought to extend the perception of workplace flexibility beyond part-time hours to include working from home or from a different location, working non-standard hours and entering into job-share arrangements.
A great health and wellbeing program
To assist employees with managing work-life balance, the RBA also has an active health and wellbeing program. This includes:
- the provision of an Employee Assistance Program, which provides confidential professional counselling and support to staff via phone and face-to-face meetings
- sponsoring a 30-day ‘Health Challenge’ program, to promote healthy behaviours. It was taken up by 10 per cent of employees, with health checks offered to those participating in the program
- the provision of fitness facilities and classes at Head Office, as well as fitness arrangements for employees in interstate and overseas offices
- the provision of executive health assessments on a voluntary basis to senior staff
- influenza vaccinations to all employees
- a number of activities, including internal seminars and communications, designed to raise awareness of mental health and related issues.
Promoting family-friendly workplace practices
RBA pursued a number of initiatives to promote family-friendly workplace practices, including:
- the option to access a second year of parental leave absence as an employment entitlement
- offering support for childcare places at an accredited childcare centre in the Sydney central business district
- providing a dedicated Parent Room facility for staff. This facility was re-accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association during the reporting period
- providing a ‘parental leave toolkit’, which informs employees of their entitlements and the resources available to support them before, during and after parental leave
- holding a series of information sessions for staff on recent improvements to the RBA's remote access technology, which support flexible working arrangements.
Supporting the community
The RBA encourages employees to participate in the broader community by supporting participation in philanthropic pursuits in a number of ways. In particular, it matches all donations made by employees through the RBA's Benevolent Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The RBA also has a Volunteer Day Program, where employees spend a day of leave helping at an eligible charity, and the Bank donates to that charity the equivalent of one day's pay.
Monitoring work-life balance
To help monitor the work-life balance of its employees, the Bank looks at a number of different indicators including:
- the take-up of part-time work, and other flexible work arrangements
- parental leave
- usage the use of carer's leave
- the take-up of the Bank's purchased leave scheme.
Historically, the RBA has focused on measuring part-time work to monitor work-life balance. While this is still the case, the recent employee engagement survey and new flexible work policy has allowed for the collection of data relating to the application of workplace flexibility more broadly.
Many RBA employees work flexibly
RBA’s employee engagement survey allowed for the collection of data relating to the usage of other flexible work arrangements, including both formal and informal arrangements. Around 43 per cent of staff who responded to the survey reported that they were engaged in some form of flexible working arrangement, with the majority working from home or working with non-standard hours on an ad hoc basis. The launch of the RBA's flexible work policy in August 2015 has also allowed the Bank to more effectively track the take-up of formal flexible work arrangements. Since the policy's launch, requests for flexible work have been received from 4 per cent of staff.
The majority of these requests have been made by women (67 per cent); relate to part-time work arrangements (38 per cent; and are for regular, rather than ad hoc, arrangements (93 per cent). A significant number of employees cite caring responsibilities as the reason for making the flexible work request (45 per cent).
Some points to note about part-time employees include:
- the majority of employees working part-time do so for at least six days a fortnight
- while most part-time working arrangements involve women, the share of men working part-time has increased over the past 10 years
- employees working part-time are typically older than full-time employees and have generally worked at the RBA for longer
- professional and managerial employees have accounted for two-thirds of employees working part-time, while clerical and administrative employees have accounted for one-third.
Find out more