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What Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Reveal About Workplace Flexibility for People with Family and Caring Responsibilities?


Dominique Allen and Adriana Orifici

As part of the Australian government’s response to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–1, a large proportion of Australian workers worked from home. Many workers were also required to care for and homeschool young children when schools and childcare facilities were closed as part of the public health response to the pandemic. More than a year on, it is crucial to examine what workers with family responsibilities needed at this time and how employers have responded. This is particularly important because workers with family responsibilities will continue to request flexible working arrangements long after the COVID-19 pandemic has receded. This article reports on the results of an online survey conducted with Australian workers about their experience of balancing their work and family responsibilities during the pandemic, including the arrangements the worker sought and their employer’s response. It outlines implications relevant to how flexible working arrangements might operate in future.

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