The Flexible-Work-by-Default Guidance has been developed as a resource for agencies developing their approach to flexible working that works for agencies, their roles and for their teams and employees. By developing consistent and fair flexible-by-default practices across our agencies, we can attract the best talent, maximise productivity and build more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

See the Flexible-Work-by-Default Guidance and Resources (PDF, 3.6 MB)

The guidance is a culmination of a work programme that started in 2018, when Ministers committed to the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan milestone that by the end of 2020 all agencies will be flexible-by-default. The Flexible-Work-by-Default Guidance and Resources support the achievement of the Action Plan milestone. The guidance was developed by the Gender Pay Gap and Pay Equity Taskforce and involved 18 months of collaborative work and engagement with the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and its affiliates, Public Service agencies piloting flexible-by-default practices, and representatives from the Gender Pay Principles Working Group.

The right to request flexible working has been law for over a decade and the demand for flexibility has long been building. Flexible-by-default means shifting from asking “why should a role be flexible?” to “why not?” It means treating all roles as suitable for flexible working and exploring how flexibility could work, unless there is a genuine business reason for any role not to be. It does not mean that all types of flexibility will be possible for every role.

There are many types of flexible working, ranging from earlier starts, later finishes, working from home on some days and other arrangements but there is no one-size-fits-all, every agency will have their own specific requirements. A lot of informal flexible work arrangements have been operating in agencies for some time. The guidance builds on existing flexible working practices, supporting agencies to establish a framework that creates a sustainable, consistent and fair approach to flexible working that balances the needs of the agency, the team, the employee and their role.

It’s important to note that working arrangements for public servants over the COVID-19 response phase were about saving lives and stopping the transmission of COVID-19 - it was not about flexible working. However, many agencies will have experienced working remotely when all employees were required to do so.

State Services Commission June 2020




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