The new normal: Flexibility in the workplace

  • The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has recently handed down a series of decisions which expand an employee’s rights to request flexible working arrangements.
  • On 20 November 2018, the Full Bench handed down a further decision confirming the insertion of the model term into all modern awards which places additional obligations on employers about consulting and responding to requests.
  • From 1 December all employees covered by a modern award will have a right to have their requests for flexible work arrangements dealt with according to the model term.

Letter tiles spelling out 'work from home'

The right to request changes to working arrangements is one of the ten National Employment Standards (NES). More broadly, the right for certain employees to request flexible working arrangements has been a feature of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) since 2010, although there have been changes since this right was introduced.

Section 65 of the Act sets out the entitlement to request flexible work arrangements That provision was expanded in 2013 to include employees who are carers; parents of children who are school age or younger; have a disability; are aged 55 years or older; who are experiencing violence from a family member; and who provide care and support to family members or household members who are experiencing family violence.

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