Requests for flexible working arrangements

By Vivian Michael | Employment

Requests for flexible working arrangements

Photo credit: Dai KE, Unsplash

Section 65 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) allows employees to request a change in their working conditions like hours and location or working part-time. 

Example circumstances 

Employee’s may request flexible working arrangements if they employee is:

  • the parent or has responsibility for a child of school age 
  • ​a carer 
  • has a disability
  • is 55 or older 
  • experiencing violence from a member of their family 
  • provides care or support to a member of the employee’s immediate family who needs support because they are experiencing violence.

The rules 

An employee can make a request for flexible working arrangements if:

  • they completed 12 months of continuous service with the employer before making the request 
  • if they are a casual - they are a long term casual employee and have a reasonable expectation of continuing employments.

How to make the request

Employees need to make their request in writing and set out details of the change sought and the reasons for the change.

The employer’s response 

The employer needs to respond in writing within 21 days. Also, the employer may only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds and must include the reason in their response.

What are reasonable business grounds?

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of reasonable business grounds: 

  • too costly for the employer 
  • no capacity to change working arrangements of other employees to accomodate the employee’s request 
  • impractical to change working arrangements of other employees 
  • the change would result in a significant loss in efficiency or productivity 
  • the change is likely to have a significant negative impact on customer services. 

Summary

Employees can make a written request for a flexible working arrangement. Employers must respond in writing within 21 days. And employers may only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds. 

Do you have a question about flexible working arrangements?





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About the Author

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to make quality business legal services accessible to Australian businesses that would otherwise DIY, rely on legacy contracts or go without.

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