Wednesday 3rd February 2016
Don’t tie yourself in knots about
|In today's Workplace Bulletin:|
|One of the trends for 2016, as flagged by our partners at Holding Redlich Lawyers, is to expect an increase in demand for flexible working arrangements by employees.|
This is because the broader carer provisions under the Fair Work Act (2009) allow requests to be made for flexibility if the employee is a recognised carer, is over 55 years old, has a disability, or if they or a family member is experiencing domestic violence.
It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find them a suitable arrangement but under the Act, employers must seriously consider a request for flexible working arrangements. However, you can refuse on reasonable business grounds.
What’s in it for them?
For workers, the offer of flexible working arrangements can be extremely attractive. These changes can help:
What’s in it for you?
Workplace legal expert Charles Power, says flexible working arrangements, when the role permits, can encourage:
So, before you dismiss the idea out of hand, flexible work arrangements can be a viewed as win-win for employers and workers.
For example, employers wanting to encourage diversity in the workplace – or if your organisation has diversity employment targets for 2016 – by offering shared roles, part-time instead of full-time positions, working from home arrangements (permanent or ad hoc) or adjusted starting and finishing times, or a revised spread of hours over a working week, considering flexibility could help deliver an suitable outcome.
And, as mentioned earlier, not considering a request can land you in hot water.
Kate is an assistant veterinarian who wants to return to work on either a job-share or part-time basis after adopting a child. Her employer says ‘no’ because her position has always been full-time and he believes that is what their customers are used to.
If Kate put in a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, she would be likely to succeed because:
Unreasonably refusing a request for a flexible work arrangement to accommodate parental responsibilities may be treated as constructive dismissal.
Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns because their employer says or does something that the employee can reasonably treat as a dismissal, but the employer does not actually state that they have been dismissed.
So you can see by the changes to the Fair Work Act that you might need some legal assistance when approached by a worker wanting to explore the possibilities of changing their current working hours.
The Portner Press Employment Law Handbook, written by employment law expert Charles Power, a partner at Holding Redlich, is the quickest, easiest and least expensive way to access all the legal information you need. For example, the handbook contains 11 considerations when determining if a worker is suited to a flexible work arrangement.
The handbook has a template for helping to implement an effective working from home arrangement, and tips for trialling any new arrangement before committing to a full-blown change.
Oh, and it also offers advice on how to say ‘no’ without breaking the law.
Get your copy today so that you’re fully prepared for any requests. Or use your new-found knowledge to attract or keep that valuable worker who wants a change.
All of which are excellent reasons to purchase the Employment Law Handbook.
Keep up the good work,
Editor, Workplace Bulletin
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