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UpdatesNov 12, 2018

How to make flexible work arrangements work

Under the Fair Work Act (FW Act), certain employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements.

Under the Fair Work Act (FW Act), certain employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements.

Eligible employees include those who:

To be eligible to make a request, an employee must have worked with the employer for at least 12 months.

Since the recent introduction of a new clause in section 65 of the FW Act, any employer who mismanages or refuses a request without proper consideration, or fails to set out reasons for refusing a flexible work arrangement, can face the following penalties:

In the following steps, we demonstrate how you can approach requests for flexible work arrangements:

1 – Give yourself the right tools

2 – Assess a flexible work arrangement request

You should consider:

Flexible work arrangements may include part-time work, job sharing, variable shift lengths or working hours, working from home, time in lieu or compressed working hours.

A request can only be refused on reasonable business grounds and these reasons must be detailed to the employee in writing within 21 days.

3 – Implement a flexible work arrangement

Prior to committing to an arrangement, you may wish to implement a 3-6 month trial period to see whether it works, and if it doesn’t, what adjustments can be made.

Any arrangement reached must be accurately documented in writing, so each party understands the terms of the agreement and where and how the work will be performed.

It should be stated if the arrangement is intended to be a permanent or temporary change.

If the change is temporary, the document should state that it is subject to the company’s business needs. If it is permanent, this should be recorded as a variation to the employee’s employment agreement.

4 – Manage a flexible work arrangement

Once an arrangement has been implemented, you should review it regularly, e.g. every 3-6 months.

If you need to change the arrangement due to business needs, changes should be communicated to the employee, and notice of them given. This should be recorded in writing. Where necessary, you should also record changes as a variation to the employee’s employment agreement.

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