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  Is work/life flexibility an impossible dream?  
  Rest assured; parents are in a stronger position than ever before to negotiate great 'return to work' packages. However, negotiating that perfect deal still requires careful planning.  We offer a few strategies which may help you prepare for a discussion with your employer.  
  1. Present your case  
  Take some time to review your core job tasks and responsibilities. Consider how the job could be redesigned to accommodate a flexible work arrangement.

Find out whether it would be appropriate to submit your own proposal outlining your ideas for flexible working or if the company has existing channels for these discussions.

For a step by step guide to planning your return to work and negotiating a flexible working arrangement, click here to see our new ‘return to work planner’ on YouTube.
 
  2. Demonstrate your understanding of business needs  
  However you present your case, it’s a good idea to propose at least two alternative flexible work arrangements you think would be feasible for both you and the company.

During the negotiation process, explain your situation and needs but also proactively ask questions to clarify the needs and initial concerns of your employer. Focus on solving any problems that may be raised.

You may find it helpful to suggest a brainstorming session, to discuss as many ideas and alternatives as possible. Create a shortlist of the most mutually agreeable options.

Remember, the aim is to work as together to try and help one another achieve a win/win outcome.
 
  3. Be reasonable but firm  
  Be prepared to 'give way' or 'give up' some points. If you approach the conversation with a positive attitude and show that you are prepared to be flexible, an employer is more than likely to respond in the same manner.
 
However, don't be afraid to stand your ground on your important needs or critical issues. An unsatisfactory outcome is only likely to fail later on. If you are having trouble agreeing on a mutually acceptable arrangement, suggest that you agree to a 'trial arrangement' and review this after a period of time, e.g. 3 months, to see what's working and what could be arranged differently.
 
Agree next steps even if you haven't reached a firm conclusion so you can continue the conversation at a later stage.

Remember, the aim is to work as together to try and help one another achieve a win/win outcome.
 
  Employer obligations  
  If you are a parent with child(ren) under school age, you are entitled to formally request, and have considered, a flexible work arrangement  by your employer thanks to the new National Employment Standards ‘Right to Request’ legislation. Employers are required to respond to an employee’s request for a flexible work request within 21 days – find out more.  
  Need more help?  
  If you’d like to talk through your flexible work needs contact our free job guidance hotline on 02 9967 8377 or email your question to info@mumsatwork.com.au

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