Flexibility in the workplace

Posted on 30 July 2012

Flexible working arrangements were introduced via the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide employees in the national workplace relations system with a legal right to request a flexible working arrangement within their workplace.

To be eligible to request an individual flexibility arrangement (IFA), you must be the parent or carer of a child under school age or of a parent or carer of a child under 18 with a disability. You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months on a full-time or part-time basis or you have been working as a long-term casual employee, usually employed regularly over at least a 12 month period.

If the request to change regular hours to a more flexible working arrangement is made, employers must give consideration to the request if there is no serious compromise to the running of their business. The flexibility may be in the start or finish time of the employee or part-time work, job sharing or a change to the number of hours worked. The aim of consideration to flexible working arrangements is to help employees achieve a balance in their lives between work and family commitments.

Here are a few tips for businesses who may be approached by employees to enter into an IFA:-

  1. Record the agreement in writing signed by both parties
  2. Only ever agree to it on a trial basis so that if it doesn’t work, the original working arrangement can be re-instated
  3. Assess the request carefully and critically – be realistic with what can work
  4. Weigh up staff satisfaction with the genuine needs of the business
  5. Remember not all people and not all jobs are suitable to flexible hours or work from home arrangements

Should you require assistance with any workplace issue you may have, contact Dooley and Associates and one of our employment law team members will be happy to assist you to ensure your workplace remains conflict free.