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Work-life balance and family friendly policies

3 December 2013




This paper presents Australian and international research on work-life interaction. We review the work-life policies and practices that are likely to have the greatest impact on work-life outcomes, specifically reducing the negative impact of work on other life domains (work-life interference), and enhancing the positive effect (work-life facilitation). The review addresses four policy areas common in work-life studies of the general workforce: employee-centered flexible work practices; working hours (e.g. access to part-time work); paid and unpaid leave (e.g. parental leave); and access to childcare. It then considers the work-life literature related to two specific industries – the Australian public sector, and health and social services – to identify work-life issues and practices specific to each industry. We then conclude with a general discussion of challenges associated with the policy-practice gap, focusing particularly on work intensification and the role of organisational culture as the catalyst for policy uptake and effectiveness.

A systematic evidence review published by ANZSOG’s open access peer-reviewed journal Evidence Base.

Suggested citation

Skinner, N. & Chapman, J. (2013). Work-life balance and family friendly policies. Evidence Base, 2013(4): 1-17, doi 10.4225/50/558217B4DE473.


Authors: Natalie Skinner and Janine Chapman
Published Date: 3 December 2013