14 PEOPLE | LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT 2016 FLEXIBLE WORKING Flexibility is becoming increasingly important to both males and females as employees seek to balance competing life priorities. More and more Australian companies are adjusting the way they work and the systems they have in place which allow people to be effective and efficient through working with more temporal and locational flexibility. Introducing flexible working is one of the most effective methods of helping employees to progress in their career, whilst also meeting their personal commitments. Studies have also linked flexibility to a number of organisational benefits, including reduced absenteeism, higher retention, higher individual performance and improved organisational performance and productivity. Flexible working also has a significant impact in gender equality in the workplace. Having someone who requires care can disrupt the career paths of both men and women, however a higher proportion of women still bear the burden of home based caring duties in Australia. This is evidenced by the lower proportion of women in the workforce between the ages of thirty and fifty-four because they are ‘caring for children’ and that Australian women commit fifty-five percent more unpaid care work than men. Comparison of Flexible Working AusLSA Members Total Legal Services All Professional Services Aust Industry Policy 97% 82% 72.5% 52% Paid Parental Leave 91% 88% 65% 48% Primary Paid Parental Leave - weeks 16 (related to tenure) 10 9 10 Secondary Carer Leave 85% 82% 52% 39% Source: WGEA Comparison tool FORMAL POLICY PAID PARENTAL LEAVE 91% 6% 97% 3% 3% Yes No Yes Not Reported Not Reported