A flexible working arrangement allows employees to work under varied conditions, which better suit them. This may encompass altered working hours, patterns of work or locations. The Fair Work Act sets out who is eligible to request a flexible working arrangement, once an employee has worked for a minimum of 1 year. They include parents to young children, carers, disabled people, people aged 55 or above as well as anyone experiencing or providing care to someone experiencing family or domestic violence. For these type of employees, the right to request a flexible working arrangement is a National Employment Standard which, if breached can result in penalties.
From December 2018, new rules have been in place concerning the process employers must follow in considering requests for flexible working arrangements. Once an employee has submitted a request in writing, the employer is required to discuss the request with them. The employer is then obliged to consider the request and notify the employee of the outcome in writing within 21 days. If the exact request cannot be approved then the employer may present a potential alternative arrangement. There is scope for employers to refuse requests on reasonable business grounds. However, ideally employers should attempt to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Daniel Morgan.