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Ask our specialist – Who can request a flexible work arrangement?

Ask our specialist –  Who can request a flexible work arrangement? (Last Updated On: August 1, 2017)

As personal circumstances change, some employees may request a flexible working arrangement under the Fair Work Act. Those requesting this type of arrangement can do so for a number of reasons, such as to alter hours of work, patterns of work, and location of work. However, a refusal from an employer must be on reasonable business grounds.

Who can request a flexible working arrangement?

Employees with twelve months’ service with the same employer can submit a request. However, these employees will also need to be:

  • the parent, or primary carer, of a child school aged or younger
  • defined under the Carer Recognition Act 2010 as a carer
  • disabled
  • 55 years of age or older
  • experiencing family or domestic violence
  • providing care or support to a member of their household or immediate family requiring care because they are experiencing domestic or family violence

Flexible work practice; Is there a formal process for an employee to make a request?

When requesting a flexible working arrangement employees will need to make their request in writing, clearly outline the changes that are to happen, and the reasons for the request. Once an employer receives the request a written decline or approval must be provided within 21 days. Importantly, a refusal can only be provided on reasonable business grounds.

What are reasonable grounds to refuse a flexible work request?

Examples of reasonable business grounds, on which a request can be refused, can include:

  • the request is too costly
  • incapacity to change other employees’ working arrangements to accommodate the proposed new arrangement
  • it is impractical to hire new employees to cover the adjustment
  • a significant loss to productivity would likely occur as a result of the change
  • a significantly negative impact on customer service

Employers receiving requests and providing a response can find it difficult to navigate the complexities of the formal process. For advice contact Employsure on 1300 651 415.

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