Despite the growing availability of family‐friendly work practices (FFWPs), employees are sometimes reluctant to use them. One factor reportedly contributing to this is a work culture that discourages people accessing their entitlements. The purpose of the study in this paper was to explore the efficacy of McDonalds’ model that accounts for the gap between the availability and usage of FFWPs. The five dimensions of this model are managerial support, career consequences, organisational time expectations, the gendered nature of policy utilisation, and co‐worker support. The study in this paper was based on interviews with employees at four large Australian organisations. The findings indicated that family‐friendly work culture (FFWC) played a significant role in employees’ reluctance to take up their entitlements. Each of the five cultural dimensions was found to impact employee decisions. An extended framework of nine dimensions of FFWC accounting for the utilisation gap has been created. Key points: This article explains how workplace culture can account for the gap between the availability and use of family‐friendly work practices (FFWPs).The paper presents an overview of the relevant Australian legislation governing the availability of FFWPs. This legislation provides a framework that individual organisations can use to customise their FFWP offerings for employees.Interview data were collected from 40 employees at four large Australian organisations and analysed for congruence with McDonald’s model.Each of the five dimensions of McDonald’s model was identified during the data analysis. Five new aspects and four new dimensions emerged from the data, building on the existing five dimensions of the McDonald model. This created an extended framework of nine family‐friendly work culture dimensions.