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UpdatesOct 08, 2018

Flexible work arrangement requests: 4 steps employers must follow

As part of its four year review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently published a model term to guide employers in dealing with requests for flexible working arrangements.

By Charles Power

As part of its four year review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently published a model term to guide employers in dealing with requests for flexible working arrangements.

This follows its March 2018 decision to insert in modern awards a model term that would supplement the right to request flexible working arrangements in the National Employment Standards of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Under the provisional model term you will need to take the following steps when an employee requests for a flexible working arrangement:

Step 1: Discuss the request with the employee.

Step 2: Genuinely try to reach agreement on a change in working arrangements that will reasonably accommodate the employee’s circumstances.

In doing so, you need to consider:

In order to access the statutory right to request, the employee has to be in one or more of the following circumstances. The employee must be:

NB – Nearly three-quarters of requests for flexible working arrangements are made because of parenting responsibilities.

You will need to think whether or not there are any changes in working arrangements you can offer the employee that will better accommodate their circumstances.

Step 3: Make a decision.

Step 4: Respond to the request.

You must give the employee a written response to their request within 21 days.

The response must:

You and any employee can refer any dispute about the employee’s request and your response to it to the FWC under the award dispute resolution procedure.

However, the FWC will not have power to settle the dispute unless both parties agree to this course.

The FWC will finalise this model term after considering any feedback on the clause.

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