Family-oriented work practices

Working hours

Most EPA employees work an average of 35 hours per week, over a four-week period. Many of them work on a flexitime system: by working extra hours on one day, they can take time off on other days.

Job sharing

Two staff members can share a position, either temporarily or permanently. For example, they can take turns to work two or three days each week. A job-sharing arrangement is possible if

  • both employees agree to the arrangement
  • the arrangement is fair and equitable to them
  • the arrangement is in the best interests of the EPA and does not detract from standards of customer service.

Family and community service leave

Paid leave may be granted to an employee

  • to care for family members
  • to arrange or attend the funeral of a close family member
  • where conditions such as fire, flood or snow threaten life or property or prevent the employee from getting to work.

Caring for sick dependants

When an employee's dependants are sick, they may be able to care for them by

  • taking family and community service leave
  • taking sick leave (special conditions apply to field officers)
  • taking unpaid leave (with their manager's permission) as set out in the appropriate award
  • negotiating with their supervisor to work at home, where circumstances allow.

Leave without pay

Permanent employees can take leave without pay, subject to approval, for such things as

  • study purposes
  • pressing necessities, such as child care and compassionate needs
  • travel, in conjunction with other paid leave
  • career breaks
  • other situations on a case-by-case basis, provided the employee intends to resume duty when the leave expires.

In approving leave without pay, we try to balance the wishes of the employee with the needs of the EPA.

Working from home

Staff may be allowed to work from home, as long as they are contactable at all times. However, home-based work cannot be a routine arrangement. Employees are more likely to get permission to work from home

  • where family members are sick
  • where a project must be completed urgently and working from home is the best way to achieve this
  • for managing emergency situations at night or on weekends
  • where the work is suitable to be done at home.
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