Flexible Working Requests: You can’t say No!
Due to recent changes to the Fair Work legislation, it is no longer possible for an employer to simply say “No”, when an employee asks for flexible working arrangements.
As an employer you are still able to say no but not without an explanation as to why. Your explanation must also be what the Fair Work Commission will consider reasonable. A reasonable explanation may include, for example:
- the new working arrangements requested by the employee are too costly for the employer;
- there is no capacity to change the working arrangements of other employees to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee;
- it would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other employees, or recruit new employees, to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee;
- the new working arrangements requested would be likely to result in a significant loss in efficiency or productivity; and
- the new working arrangements requested would be likely to have a significant negative impact on customer service.
You are also required to provide your valid reasons within 21 days of the request being made.
Significant penalties are included in the new rules with up to a $63,000 penalty for a company and up to $12,600 for the owner of the business.
If you have questions about how this applies to your business, or you receive a flexible working request and are unsure how to respond, please contact our Workplace Team.
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