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Do you have a right to request flexible working arrangements?

Under the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Work & Family Best Practice Guide, employers are required to consider all requests for flexible working arrangements for employees with young children, school-age children and children with a disability.

Common requests from employees wanting flexible working arrangements include:-

  • Changed starting and finishing times;
  • Part-time hours/job sharing;
  • Working additional hours to make up for time off;
  • Taking rostered days off in half-days;
  • Time away from work instead of overtime payments; and
  • Changes in work location or the need to travel to work (i.e. working from home).

A written request to your employer for flexible working arrangements should clearly explain your situation, identify how your proposal may assist the business (e.g. being available for clients at earlier or later hours) and make it clear that you are committed to ensuring that the arrangements work effectively and do not inconvenience or disrupt the workplace.

Following the submission of a written request to your employer you should request a time to meet and discuss your proposal at a convenient time. Your employer is then required to respond to your request in writing within 21 days. The response must set out whether your request has been granted or refused. If your request has been refused your employer must include their reasons for the refusal.

In the event that you are not satisfied with the reasons given for refusing a flexible working arrangement, the Fair Work Commission can hold a conference with you and your employer to try and find a satisfactory solution.

It is illegal for an employer to take any adverse action against an employee for requesting flexible working arrangements.

Whilst on the surface it may appear that an employee seeking flexible working arrangements may be detrimental to business, there are also some proven benefits, including:-

  • Staff retention;
  • Decreasing absenteeism; and
  • Increasing productivity through employee job satisfaction.

For a full copy of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Work & Family Best Practice Guide, visit

For more information regarding your employment law rights, contact Peter Moore on (02) 4324 7699.

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