The perfect balance between career and family

The perfect balance between career and family

Squadron Leader and mother of three Emma Kilpatrick is proof that flexible working arrangements work well in the Australian Defence Force. 

Her 11-year Air Force career has seen her work in various roles and locations in between three bouts of maternity leave.

Working full time up until the birth of her oldest child in 2014, Squadron Leader Kilpatrick first experienced a flexible working arrangement when she returned from maternity leave.

“I still had all the entitlements of a full-time Air Force member but with a flexible work arrangement negotiated through my chain of command, where I worked three days a week,” Squadron Leader Kilpatrick said.

Since the birth of her first child, Squadron Leader Kilpatrick said she’s changed jobs almost every year due to relocating, posting into a new role or being promoted but in each she’s been able to work with her chain of command on a flexible work arrangement that works for her family and her workplace. 

During her son’s first year of school, Squadron Leader Kilpatrick worked compressed hours over four days so she could be there for school drop-offs and pick-ups.

Earlier this year, Squadron Leader Kilpatrick transferred to the Air Force Reserves so she could continue her Air Force career while studying a Bachelor of Nursing and supporting her family. 

“Now that I’m a reservist, I can adjust my work schedule to fit my studies, although this year hasn’t exactly gone according to plan,” Squadron Leader Kilpatrick said.  

“Working, studying and home-schooling three kids has certainly been challenging.”

“I work two days a week at Combat Support Group’s headquarters at Amberley and half a day at home,” Squadron Leader Kilpatrick said. 

“The other half of the day is allocated to studying.

“I’ve also have great support from my husband and his backing has enabled me to believe that I can do this.” 

Today is Flexible Working Day. This year’s theme is “Reframing Flexibility for the Future”. Flexible Working Day focuses on sharing stories of people and organisations who are making flexible working work for them.

For information about Flexible Work Arrangements in the ADF, visit:

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