Various changes to employee flexible working arrangement proposals have been implemented by the Fair Work Commission. The decision to insert an amended term in all modern awards, amidst concerns that employee’s flexible working arrangements were going ‘unmet’ under current practices.
To be entitled to make a request, full-time and part-time employees must have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with the employer. Casual employees are required to be a long term employee of the employer and have a reasonable expectation of continual employment.
What does a flexible working arrangement look like under the model term?
The nature of a flexible working arrangement will likely arise from the needs and circumstance of the employee. For example, a parent may request various starting and finishing times, whereas an employee with a carer responsibility may request part-time work.
When requesting a change in working arrangements you should outline the circumstances giving rise to the proposal, and how the request caters for your specific circumstances.
How should I make the request?
To make a request for a flexible working arrangement under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), you should ensure that the request is in writing, and clearly stipulates the proposed working arrangement sought as well as the reasons for the request.
Does my boss have to discuss the proposal with me?
The recent changes requires employers to discuss the flexible working arrangement request with you prior to determination. The employer must genuinely attempt to reach an agreement with you having regard to your needs and the consequences you may face if the proposed changes to working arrangements are not made.
What should my boss provide me with if they refusal my proposal?
The employer must give you a written response to the proposal within 21 days, stating whether they grant or refuse your proposal. If the employer refuses the proposal, they are required to detail the reasons for doing so, outlining how the relevant ‘business grounds’ apply.
The response to your proposal should also include whether there are any changes in working arrangements that the employer can offer. If the employer can offer an alternative flexible working arrangement, the response should outline the specific working arrangement offered.
If you think that your employer has taken adverse action against you (such as dismissing you, or discriminating against you) owing to your request for a flexible working arrangement, you should not hesitate to seek legal advice.