As an employer, you may have already heard about the Fair Work Act and the types of employees who can request flexible working arrangements. The Fair Work Act requires employers to consider requests for flexible working arrangements from certain categories of employees, including parents and carers, people with disabilities, and those experiencing domestic violence or family responsibilities. However, the law is changing, and it is important that you stay up to date with the latest developments.
The Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay changes to the Fair Work legislation, expand the types of employees who can request flexible working arrangements to include employees who are pregnant. The new laws also allow employees to take employer decisions that go against them to the Fair Work Commission, and the Fair Work Commission can make orders forcing employers to allow flexible working arrangements if the reason for refusing is not on reasonable business grounds.
What are flexible working arrangements?
Flexible working arrangements can be a simple but effective way to attract and retain employees who need greater flexibility in their work schedules. It can be anything that provides flexibility to an employee’s work hours, timing, or location. It can be as simple as leaving early on Thursdays to do the school pickup or working from home one day per week.
Can I say no?
While employers can refuse requests for flexible working arrangements if they have reasonable business grounds, you need to still work through and document the process of making this decision, and you have to make the decision for each request, not just refuse without even considering.
How to handle flexible work requests?
To successfully manage requests for flexible working arrangements in your workplace, there are two keys – good communication and good documentation.
? Consider what flexibility you are willing to offer.
? Put together a flexibility policy that lays out how requests for flexibility will be processed in your workplace, and what options are available.
? If someone requests flexibility, take the time to talk with them and understand what need they are trying to fill.
? Genuinely try to accommodate it. Do a trial period if you’re not sure!
? If the flexible work request is really not reasonable for your business, make sure you have well-considered, documented and evidence-based reasons, and discuss with your employee considerately.
Need more support?
At PPS, we can help you handle a request for flexible arrangements or develop a flexible work policy. Our team of experts has extensive knowledge of the Fair Work Act and can assist you in ensuring that your workplace is compliant with the new legislation. Remember, #wevegotyourback.