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Balancing Work and Study with Family and Caring Responsibilities Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy outlines Charles Sturt University's commitment to providing a flexible, supportive and accessible work/study environment for staff and students with family or caring responsibilities.

(2) Charles Sturt University (the University) acknowledges that:

  1. staff and students may have family or caring responsibilities at some point in their working or student life, whether caring for children, elderly relatives or family members with a disability or medical condition (physical and/or mental);
  2. family and caring responsibilities affect both men and women and can impact on all aspects of an individual's life, including work and study;
  3. families can be structured in diverse ways and definitions of the family need to be inclusive to accommodate different kinds of family relationships;
  4. providing flexibility to accommodate the sometimes competing demands of work, study, family life and caring responsibilities benefits the University, its staff and students;
  5. a flexible, supportive and accessible environment enables those with family and caring responsibilities to maintain their attachment to the workforce and/or their studies and continue to have opportunities for growth, development and promotion; and
  6. University staff with supervisory responsibilities have a critical role in promoting a culture that is responsive to the interplay of work, family life and caring responsibilities.


(3) This Policy applies to all employees and students of the University.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(4) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. immediate family - is defined by the University to include an employee's or student's spouse or former spouse, de facto spouse or former de facto spouse (de facto spouse includes same-sex, transgender, intersex and heterosexual partnerships); or their child or adult child (including their adopted child, step-child, ex-nuptial child or foster child), parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law. Other kinship and family networks may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Recognising that family obligations differ across cultures and that some cultures have broad kinship and family networks, the University will be sensitive to cultural issues in the administration of family-friendly policies and practices; and
  2. carer - means "an individual who provides personal care, support and assistance to another individual who needs it because that other individual has a disability; or has a medical condition (including a terminal or chronic illness), or has a mental illness, or is frail and aged" (Carer Recognition Act 2010 (Cth). Recognising that each carer will have different needs which are dependent on the specific nature and circumstances of their caring responsibilities, the University will consider each request from carers fairly and consistently, reflecting the principles of the Statement for Australian Carers.
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Section 3 - Policy

Part A - Statement of Commitment

(5) In recognition of the interdependency between work, study, family and caring responsibilities, the University aims to:

  1. foster a culture that is supportive and accommodating of the responsibilities of staff and students with dependants and caring responsibilities;
  2. enhance the quality of working life and retain skilled and experienced staff by providing flexibility in employment practices and work arrangements;
  3. maximise the contribution of staff and students to the University by assisting them to balance the demands of work, study, family and caring responsibilities; and
  4. attract the widest pool of qualified applicants and a diverse student cohort by gaining a reputation as a family friendly and carer supported employer/University.

(6) The University will continue to include in its employment conditions leave arrangements and flexible work options that enhance compatibility between work, family and caring responsibilities.

(7) The University recognises staff and students who are planning to start a family or who have young children, by providing on-campus childcare and parents' rooms.

Part B - Responsibilities

(8) The University expects supervisors and managers to give reasonable consideration to requests for flexible arrangements to accommodate family and caring responsibilities.

Part C - Legislation and Resources

(9) The National Employment Standards (NES) provisions identify the minimal legal requirements for people with caring responsibilities in the workplace (Fair Work Ombudsman).

(10) In addition to workplace laws and entitlements, state, territory and federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit discrimination against workers on grounds of family responsibilities, and to a more limited extent, caring responsibilities.

(11) The Carer Recognition Act 2010 (Cth) aims to increase the recognition and awareness of carers and to acknowledge the valuable contribution they make to society, and includes the Statement for Australian Carers.

(12) Supporting Carers in the Workplace: A Toolkit 2013 (Australian Human Rights Commission).

(13) Carers NSW has resources and training for employers and for carers.

(14) The WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality: Criteria and Guidelines - Criterion 5 outlines the flexible working arrangements for supporting women and men who have family or caring responsibilities (Workplace Gender Equality Agency)

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Section 4 - Procedures

(15) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(16) Nil.