Modern award update: flexible work arrangements must be “genuinely” considered by employers
Employers will be required to justify their decision to refuse employee requests for flexible working arrangements under a new clause to be inserted into all modern awards by the Fair Work Commission.
Under the ruling, employees will now be able to legally challenge an employer’s decision if they fail to genuinely try to reach an agreement on flexible working arrangements. If requests for flexible working arrangements are refused, the employer will be required to provide a detailed explanation as to why the request cannot be met.
The Australian Council for Trade Unions (ACTU) said that the ruling “falls short of guaranteeing a right to flexible working hours for people with family and caring responsibilities and others, but it is a step in the right direction.”
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said “People should be able to advance their careers and care for their families, and if employers are unwilling to consider reasonable requests for altered hours to accommodate a caring responsibility then workers should be able to challenge that decision.
“We know that more than 80 per cent of Australians have some form of caring responsibility, but women are over-represented in this group and are often forced out of work by inflexible work arrangements which do not allow women to balance care and work.”
More information on flexible working arrangements on employer responsibilities can be found on the Fair Work Commission website.