As of 1st December 2018, the rules around flexible work requests have changed. The ruling made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) means that employers need to make a genuine attempt to reach an agreement when an employee makes a request for flexible work arrangements; such as change to hours, location of work or pattern of their work (e.g. job sharing).

Who does this new ruling effect?

Employees who are covered by a modern award, the FWC website outlines employees (other than a casual employee) who have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements if they:

  • are the parent, or have 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, in addition to the criteria above:

  • 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 does this new ruling affect your business?

Employers who receive a request in writing must give a written response within 21 days saying whether the request is granted or refused. Consultation is required, and the employer genuinely needs to assess;

  • The minimum engagement periods per shift,
  • The amount of change required for the gap (if necessary, to fill),
  • The impact to the business (production, cost)

An employer can only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds, with the refusal accompanied by a written response containing the reasons for the refusal.

Are there benefits to flexible work arrangements?

The benefits to flexible work arrangements extend past the benefits to employees with businesses seeing benefits such as;

  • Employee longevity,
  • Reduced absenteeism to the decreased need to take time off to deal with these responsibilities,
  • Higher levels of satisfaction and employee engagement.

If you need guidance or support in handling flexible work arrangement requests or need a policy in place, Cornerstone HR can help you. Contact our specialist team for a no obligation chat today.