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Bite-Size HR: The Ninth Bite

Published: December 7, 2023

Lead Employment Relations Document Specialist, Jane Escobar, walks us through how to manage flexible working requests and which employees are entitled to flexible work.

Read Transcript

Hi, I'm Jane.

Lead Employment Relations

Document Specialist here at Peninsula.

Today I’m answering the question:

“How do I manage flexible working requests?”

The ability to acess

flexible working arrangements within the workplace

is an important entitlement

for employees in Australian businesses.

A flexible working arrangement

is the right for certain employees

to request flexibility

from their employer

for changes

to their working arrangements,

such as changes

to their hours,

pattern of work or location.

Flexible working arrangements

are part of the National Employment

Standards or the NES.

The standards apply

to all employees covered

by the National Workplace

Relations System,

regardless of any award, agreement

or contract.

Casual Employees

are entitled to flexible

working arrangements

if they've had at least

12 months of continuous service

on a regular and systematic basis

prior to making the request.

There is an expectation

of continuing employment

that is regular and systematic.

Permanent employees

must have at least 12 months

of continuous service

before making the request.

Both casual and permanent

employees can make a flexible

working arrangement request

if they fit into one of these categories:

The employee is pregnant.

They're a parent

or have the responsibility

for the care of a child under school age.

They're a carer,

they have a disability,

are 55 or older.

They are experiencing domestic violence

or they provide care

or support to a member

of the employee's immediate family

or a member of the employee's household

who requires care or support

because they’re experiencing violence.

If an employee is returning to work

after parental or adoption leave,

the employee may request

to return to work on a part time basis

to help them care for their child.

Employees are required

to apply for a

flexible working arrangement in writing,

and it must set out

the details of the change sought

and the reasons for the change.

The employer must

then consider the application and provide

a written response

within 21 days, stating

whether the employer

grants or refuses the request.

An employer can only

refuse a request

on reasonable business grounds.

It's important for businesses to ensure

they have clear processes in place

regarding flexible working arrangements,

and appropriate

and fair consideration is given

to all requests made.

If due process

and consideration is not afforded

to these requests,

an employee can raise

serious disputes against the employer,

including application

to the Fair Work Commission

for resolution of a dispute.

Please remember to contact

the advice team

if you would like to discuss

flexible working entitlements

or a specific case further.

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