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6. The need for and importance of a range of flexible working arrangements was highlighted in both the focus groups and the questionnaires. As mentioned above, earlier research has also indicated that making flexible work options available to all staff was regarded as a highly effective means of assisting work-life balance and supporting staff with family responsibilities. The University of Auckland has an EEO policy, Flexible Work Arrangements, which provides a sound basis for the development of flexible arrangements. It appears that more creative approaches to providing flexible arrangements would have potential benefits in supporting both academic and general staff women returning to work. At the national level, Parliament is currently considering a Bill to legislate for the right to request flexible working arrangements similar to provisions enacted in the United Kingdom. Recommendation 6. That a copy of the policy on Flexible Work Arrangements be provided to all staff applying for Parental Leave and that support for managers to respond positively and creatively to requests for flexible work arrangements be provided. 7. It is of concern that women typically responded to the question about career advancement with comments to the effect that they could not contemplate career progression at that time. While this is understandable, the longer-term impact, especially if women take subsequent leave periods, can seriously impede career development. (One informant reported that it had taken her ten years to regain her career trajectory after a period out of academia attending to family responsibilities). There are Women in Leadership Programmes in place which provide seminars and mentoring and can provide some support to career aspirations for new mothers, but these alone will not satisfy all women’s needs. Ensuring the specifications of grants and awards such as for doctoral completion, as well as employment processes, do not indirectly disadvantage women who have taken time out for parental leave, or worked part-time, deserves consideration. It appears that grants, awards and, especially, postdoctoral fellowships in Australian universities are commonly tailored to cater for women who have taken leave, or are tagged for women returning to work (see page 21). It is noticeable, too, that funding for women returning to work in the areas of engineering, science and technology is provided for a wide range of purposes in Australian universities (see page 21). There appeared to be misinformation about some of the regulations relating to research funding. Although some participants believed the Marsden Fast Start did not take time spent on parental leave into account, the guidelines for panel members for the ‘Fast-Start Initiative’ grants state that ’time spent on parental leave or in nonresearch related employment is excluded from the yearly count of research experience’. Recommendations 7. a That grants and awards provided by and/or administered by The University of Auckland be audited to ensure their provisions do not directly or indirectly disadvantage women who have taken parental leave. 7. b

That consideration be given to providing research-assistance funding, either through an internal grant or through seeking external funding to support women returning to work in disciplines where they are under-represented.

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Women Returning to Work  

a joint project by the University of Auckland and the Association of University Staff analysing women’s experiences returning to work after...

Women Returning to Work  

a joint project by the University of Auckland and the Association of University Staff analysing women’s experiences returning to work after...

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