Flexible working arrangements

Flexible work requests may include arrangements around starting and finishing times, condensed work hours, organisation of work tasks, working from home or other changes to the work environment.  Flexible work arrangements may be temporary or ongoing.

National Employment Standards obligations

Although the implementation of flexible work arrangements in most cases will be determined through negotiation between an employer and employee, employers do have legal obligations to parents and carers under the National Employment Standards.

Under these standards, an employee who has worked with the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements if they:

  • are the parent or carer of a child who is school aged or younger
  • are a carer
  • have a an impairment
  • are 55 or older.

An employee can request flexible work arrangements to assist them with these circumstances.

Flexible work arrangements may not suit every business or every situation. If this is the case and flexible arrangements cannot be accommodated, employers should be clear about the reasons for this when advising employees.

When considering flexible work arrangements, employers should assess each request on its merits and in the context of operational and business requirements. Granting one individual a flexible work arrangement does not mean that all requests will be granted, but employers should be fair and equitable when managing such requests.

Benefits of flexible work arrangements

Research by the Diversity Council of Australia found there is significant evidence that flexible work optimises resources and productivity.  Flexible work arrangements have the potential to benefit employers, employees and their families.

Flexible work arrangements can offer employers greater potential for:

  • attracting better employees;
  • retaining current employees for longer;
  • providing greater accessibility to customers by being open for more hours per day;
  • better cooperation, efficiency and productivity from staff who feel supported.