Flexible work arrangement

A flexible work arrangement (FWA) empowers an employee to choose what time they begin to work, where to work, and when they will stop work.[1] The idea is to help manage work-life balance and benefits of FWA can include reduced employee stress and increased overall job satisfaction.[1] On the contrary, some refrain from using their FWA as they fear the lack of visibility can negatively affect their career.[2] Overall, this type of arrangement has a positive effect on incompatible work/family responsibilities, which can be seen as work affecting family responsibilities or family affecting work responsibilities.[3] FWA is also helpful to those who have a medical condition or an intensive care-giving responsibility, where without FWA, part-time work would be the only option.[4]


The idea came from German management consultant, Christel Kammerer[5] in West Germany (1960).[6] It was first implemented by German Aerospace firm, Messarschmilt-Boklow-Blohm in 1967.[6] It was not until the 1970's that FWA practices began in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[6]

Types of flexible work arrangementsEdit




Arguments against flexible work arrangementsEdit

  • Key personnel may not be available when needed
  • system abuse
  • increasing the conflict between work and personal responsibilities
  • Decrease or damage to workplace communications[6]

Gender role theory and access to FWAEdit

Gender role theoryEdit

According to gender role theory, society places different roles on women and men simply based on their biological sex (gender-stereotyping).[3] Given the competing forces working-women face between their jobs and home, FWA are made very appealing.[3] FWA also has the ability to encourage men to play a care-giving role as they have equal access to the program.[4] Over the past few years, more women than men using FWA (58% compared with 42%). [9]

Access considerationsEdit

FWA tend to favour those in full-time, salaried positions and male-dominated workplaces or industries. While in the male-dominated workplace, there seems to be equitable access, in female-dominated workplaces, both the women and men are less likely to have schedule control. It is argued this is due to female-dominated workplaces having low-paying roles and unfavourable working conditions.[10]

Policy implicationsEdit

-Based on the access considerations, it is argued that the group whom most needs FWA, may not be able to get access to it.

-FWA is important as it is attributed as a variable to help close the Gender pay gap and can assist in maintaining a women's labour market position after giving birth.

-Further research is being conducted by the European Commission (2017), which seeks to identify why an employer may reject a request for a FWA.

-Flexibility can be seen as a substitute as compensation.[11][10]

Current policyEdit


  • Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 (Bill C-63): Amendments made to the Canada Labour Code to give federal employees the right to ask for a FWA.[12]
  • No private sector legislation

United KingdomEdit

  • All employees have the right to make a statutory application[13]
  • Under the contracts of employment and working hours legislation:
    • All employees are eligible to flexible working should they have the same employer for 26 weeks or more[13]

United StatesEdit

  • In 2010, the government passed the Telework Enhancement Act for Federal employees.[14]
  • As of 2017, the following FWA bills have been proposed:[11]
    • Workflex in the 21st Century Act: Allows employers to choose to offer employers a given number of paid days leave and FWAs. Employers who choose to do this would be rewarded via exemption from local and state bank days. This bill has some controversy as critics feel it would transfer more employee control over to the employer.
    • Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 [H.R. 1180]: Enhancement to the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2015 [S.233] by adding a 'time off in lieu' amendment. Critics feel flexibility would be substitute compensation, which comes at the employees expense.
    • Schedules That Work Act and Flexibility for Working Families Act of 2017: These acts would give people the right to request FWA. This includes the right to alter schedule, hours, and work location.
  • Overall, FWA are an employer/Employee (or union) agreement


  1. ^ a b Leslie, L; Manchester, C; Park, T; Mehng, S (December 2012). "Flexible Work Practices: A Source of Career Premiums or Penalties?". The Academy of Management Journal. 55 (6): 1407–1428. doi:10.5465/amj.2010.0651 – via JSTOR.
  2. ^ Ko, E; Kim, S (2018). "Intention to use flexible work arrangements". Journal of Organizational Change Management. 31 (7): 1438–1460. doi:10.1108/JOCM-01-2018-0001. S2CID 150057950.
  3. ^ a b c Kim, H; Gong, Y (2017). "Effects of work-family and family-work conflicts on flexible work arrangements demand: A gender role perspective". The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 28 (20): 2936–2956. doi:10.1080/09585192.2016.1164217. S2CID 156968280.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Flexible work arrangements: What was heard". Government of Canada. September 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  5. ^ Stanley, Autumn, 1933- (1995). Mothers and daughters of invention : notes for a revised history of technology. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813521971. OCLC 31782818.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b c d "New Page 1". www.csus.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  7. ^ Maclean, Kathryn (2018). Flexible Work Arrangements: Transforming the Way Canadians Work (Report). The Conference Board of Canada.
  8. ^ a b c d e Flexible work arrangements. Diva. 2018-08-20. doi:10.6027/anp2018-780. ISBN 9789289356473. S2CID 150174721.
  9. ^ "Flexible working arrangements", The Pursuit of Gender Equality, OECD, pp. 217–225, 2017-10-04, doi:10.1787/9789264281318-21-en, ISBN 9789264281301, S2CID 211257789, retrieved 2021-11-15
  10. ^ a b Chung, Heejung (2019). "'Women's work penalty' in access to flexible working arrangements across Europe". European Journal of Industrial Relations. 25 (1): 23–40. doi:10.1177/0959680117752829. ISSN 0959-6801.
  11. ^ a b Plumb, Emma (2016-11-10). "Policy". 1 Million for Work Flexibility. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  12. ^ "Backgrounder: Flexible work arrangements and modernizing labour standards". Government of Canada. 29 Aug 2019. Retrieved 28 Oct 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Flexible Working". Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Telework.gov". U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  15. ^ "Flexible Schedules | U.S. Department of Labor". www.dol.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-13.