The National Employment Standards provide provisions for employees to request a change in their working arrangements because they:-
- are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is of school age or younger;
- are a carer (as defined by the Carer Recognition Act 2010);
- have a disability;
- are 55 years old or older;
- are experiencing violence from a member of their family; or
- provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household who requires care or support because they are experiencing violence from their family.
Some of the changes an employee might request include: –
- reduction in hours;
- change in start time and finish times at different days of the week;
- a change in location of work, such as working from home; or
- a change in working patterns, such as job sharing.
An employee wishing to implement a flexible working arrangement with their employer must set out the details of their request in writing.
The employer must then respond in writing within 21 days from the date of request, either agreeing to the request or refusing the request. If the request is refused the reasons for the refusal must be stated.
An employer can only refuse a request on “reasonable business grounds”.
“Reasonable business grounds” might be: –
- the new arrangement would be too costly to the employer;
- there is no capacity to change the working arrangements of others to accommodate the employee’s request;
- it would be impractical to change others’ working arrangements or recruit new employees to accommodate the request;
- the new arrangement is likely to result in significant loss of efficiency or productivity.
If an employer refuses an employee’s request for flexible working arrangements, then the Fair Work Commission has the authority to deal with a dispute about whether the employer had reasonable business grounds.
An employee may also have remedies under anti-discrimination legislation if an employee considers they have been discriminated against.
If you would like any further information on:-
- flexible working arrangements, either as employee or employer; or
- discrimination in the workplace
please do not hesitate to contact our office.