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Flexible work practices and the LIS sector: balancing the needs of work and life?

Terry O'Brien (Luke Wadding Library, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland)
Helen Hayden (Luke Wadding Library, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 25 February 2008




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in relation to work life balance, family friendly work arrangements, leave entitlements and diverse modes of flexible work in Ireland. Focuses in particular on the Library and Information sector.


Introduces the concept of flexible working, followed by a review of relevant literature. Outlines what flexible work practices are, giving details of various types of flexible working, both statutory and non‐statutory (in Ireland). Then, discusses why flexible work practices have emerged and details background legislation and the issues that the introduction of flexible working raises. Draws conclusions about best practice in relation to the management of flexible work practices.


It is argued that commitment to work life balance is now firmly in the mainstream and is part of the political agenda in Ireland and the rest of the developed world. Flexibility in work practice is becoming an integral part of employment, particularly in public sector organisations, which are in effect, leading the way on this issue. Flexible work practices have many advantages for both employees and employers. They also create challenges, especially in terms of management. It is important to balance the requirements of the organisation with those of the employees. Key factors in the successful implementation of flexible working are training and communication.


The article provides a firm basis for further investigation and discussion.



O'Brien, T. and Hayden, H. (2008), "Flexible work practices and the LIS sector: balancing the needs of work and life?", Library Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 199-228.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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