Flexible work arrangements are often seen as a valuable work-perk by employees. With the rise of mobile connectivity and co-sharing workspaces, the modern workplace is changing.
As of 1 December 2018, new rules have been included in all modern awards relating to requests for flexible work arrangements.
Fairwork advises “Before responding to a request from an eligible employee, an employer must first discuss the request with the employee to try to reach an agreement about a change to their working arrangements.
Requests can only be refused on reasonable business grounds. If employers refuse a request, they need to provide the employee with a written response.”
Payroll HQ offers comprehensive reporting available to clients, enabling easier employee discussions based on actual data, such as detailed analytics around leave liability, gender pay gap analysis, terminations, new hires, headcount by employee type and location.
What are flexible work arrangements?
Flexible work arrangements can include changes to the location of work (such as working from home); patterns of work; or hours of work (such as a change to start & finish times).
So, who’s eligible for flexible work arrangements?
Employees who meet one of the following criteria and have worked for the same employer for 12 months are eligible to request flexible work arrangements;
- Are a parent or carer of a child who is school-aged or younger
- Have a disability
- Are 55 or older
- Are experiencing (or providing care or support to a victim of) family or domestic violence.
Casual employees are eligible if they’ve regularly and systematically worked for the same employee for 12 months or more and there’s a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the employer on a regular and systematic basis.
How do employees submit a request?
The request has to be in writing and thoroughly explain the changes requested and the reasons why.
What should employers do with a request?
Employers covered by an award must first discuss the request with their employee to try to reach an agreement about changes to the employee’s working conditions.
All employers who receive a request must provide a written response within 21 days which outlines whether the request is approved or refused.
Employers must take into consideration;
- The needs of the employee
- Consequences for the employee if changes in working arrangements aren’t made
- Employers can only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds. If a request is refused the written response must include the reasons for the refusal.
Reasonable business grounds can include:
The requested arrangements are too costly
Other employees’ working arrangements can’t be changed to accommodate the request
It’s impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request
The request would result in a significant loss of productivity or have a significant negative impact on customer service.
Awards contain specific information on what needs to be included in the written response if the request is refused or if a different change in working arrangements is agreed.
Compliance, or slipping into non-compliance, is one of the biggest headaches payroll teams across the country face. By choosing a managed payroll service like Payroll HQ, we take away the pain and deliver a quality service with confidence, trust and transparency.
You can find out more about flexible working arrangements on the Fair Work website here.
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