Fair Work Ombudsman on flexible working

On 1 December 2018 a Fair Work Commission ruling came into effect making many employees eligible to request flexible working arrangements (with regards to the hours, location and/or pattern of their work). People with caring responsibilities, disability, are 55 or older, or are impacted by domestic violence are considered eligible.

Employers are obliged to make a genuine attempt to reach an agreement. If employers refuse the request, they need reasonable documented business grounds to back-up their decision. 

Reasonable business grounds can include:

  • the requested arrangements are too costly
  • other employees' working arrangements can't be changed to accommodate the request
  • it’s impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request
  • the request would result in a significant loss of productivity or have a significant negative impact on customer service.

Read the Fair Work Ombudsman Best practice guide for more information, including a request letter template.