Certain employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements. Employers can only refuse these requests on reasonable business grounds.
Examples of flexible working arrangements include changes to:
- hours of work (e.g. changes to start and finish times)
- patterns of work (e.g. split shifts or job sharing)
- locations of work (e.g. working from home)
Who can request flexible working arrangements?
Employees who have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements if they:
- are the parent, or have the responsibility for the care, of a child who is school aged or younger
- are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
- have a disability
- are 55 or older
- are experiencing family or domestic violence, or
- provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence.\
Casual employees can make a request if:
- they’ve been working for the same employer regularly and systematically for at least 12 months
- there’s a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the employer on a regular and systematic basis.
How do employees request flexible working arrangements?
Requests for flexible working arrangements have to:
- be in writing
- explain what changes are being asked for
- explain the reasons for the request.
What should employers do with a request?
Employers who receive a request must give a written response within 21 days saying whether the request is granted or refused. They can only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds. If a request is refused the written response must include the reasons for the refusal.
What are reasonable business grounds?
Reasonable business grounds can include:
- the requested arrangements are too costly
- other employees’ working arrangements can’t be changed to accommodate the request
- it’s impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request
- the request would result in a significant loss of productivity or have a significant negative impact on customer service.
If a state or territory law provides an employee with a better entitlement to flexible working arrangements this will continue to apply.