HR Leader logo
Stay connected.   Subscribe  to our newsletter

This week in HR: Young mums in flexi-work, the inflation-wages gap, and workplace boundaries

By Nick Wilson | |6 minute read
This Week In Hr Young Mums In Flexi Work The Inflation Wages Gap And Workplace Boundaries

We’re spoiled for choice this week in compiling the top stories in HR news. Nonetheless, we’re asking, are young mums being harmed or hurt by flexible work? Are wages catching up to inflation? And what kind of workplace boundaries are worth setting?

Young mums finding flexi-work

Globally, the number of women in the workforce is at an all-time high. The fastest-growing constituency: mothers of young children.


“The surge in remote work is a driving force behind this change, largely for knowledge-work roles. Yet many mothers and caregivers seek a level of flexibility that goes beyond just working from home,” wrote Rebecca M Knight.

This was the subject of a recent article in BBC Worklife that explored not just the increasing popularity of flexible work arrangements for mothers but also the role employers have to play in mitigating any possible forms of discrimination or promotional biases that may arise from the trend.

The article explored the growing use of online talent platforms designed to connect parents with flexible jobs: “Although these platforms have been a game changer for many women looking to balance their professional lives with caregiving responsibilities, some experts worry about their long-term effects.”

Women who opt for part-time or flexible roles are often faced with an uphill battle against decreased advancement opportunities, lower pay, and other cultural challenges. Flexibility stigma is something of an invisible cost when it comes to flexible work arrangements: “Some managers harbour biases about employees who work flexibly, viewing them as less committed and less productive,” wrote Ms Knight.

The “part-time promotion cliff” – and its disproportionate impacts on working women – was the subject of a recent HR Leader article.

“If you want to differentiate and attract and retain diverse talent – especially women and caregivers – we’ve learned that you need to radically rethink the old-school way of how people are getting work done,” DJ Casto, chief human resources officer at Synchrony, told BBC Worklife.

Closing the inflation-wages gap

In other news this week, the ABS reported the highest quarterly growth in wages since the series began in 1997. Across the country, wages grew by 1.3 per cent this quarter, up 4 per cent from this time last year. According to Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of prices statistics, behind the growth were several factors.

In the private sector, it was mainly the Fair Work Commission’s decision to raise the minimum wage, a decision employment minister Tony Burke heralded as “the best decision for workers we’ve ever had”.

Also impacting the private sector wage growth, said Ms Marquardt, were “the application of the Aged Care Work Value case, labour market pressure, and CPI rises being factored into wage and salary review decisions”.

The public sector, whose wages grew more modestly, benefited from the removal of state wage caps and new enterprise agreements, said Ms Maquardt.

Quarterly growth in wages narrowly outpaced consumer price increases (1.3 per cent compared with 1.2 per cent, respectively), while compared with this time last year, consumer prices grew 5.4 per cent to wages’ 4 per cent increase.

Setting workplace boundaries

Workplace boundaries “help to protect us, clarify what is and isn’t our responsibility, preserve our physical and emotional energy, create clear professional expectations, and live our values and standards”, reported Dana Gionta for Psychology Today.

“Not having healthy workplace boundaries increases stress, burnout, decreased performance, and voluntary attrition,” she added.

Knowing where your boundaries lie is the first step to asserting them. According to Dr Gionta, employers most commonly overstep employee boundaries in the following five areas:

1. Role load

2. Role clarity

3. Work/life

4. Communication

5. Behaviour


Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.

Remote working

Professionals can use remote work as a working method to do business away from a regular office setting. It is predicated on the idea that work need not be carried out in a certain location to be successful.

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson is a journalist with HR Leader. With a background in environmental law and communications consultancy, Nick has a passion for language and fact-driven storytelling.