Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible Working Arrangements

An employer and employee may agree to flexible working arrangements to help an employee manage work-life balance under certain circumstances.

This flexibility comes in many forms to suit different workplaces, jobs and workers.  Some common examples include:

  • flexible start and finish times
  • flexible rostering
  • working more hours over fewer days
  • part-time work
  • job sharing
  • split shifts
  • working from home or another location


Who can request a change in their working arrangements?

While all employees can request flexibility under the Fair Work Act 2009 (“the Act”), certain employees have a legal entitlement to submit a written “request for flexible working arrangements” to their employer.

These include:

  • full-time or part-time employees who have worked with their employer for at least 12 months; or
  • casual employees who have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have a reasonable expectation of continuing employment on a regular and systematic basis.


Why could an employee request flexible working arrangements?

An employee can request flexible working arrangements under the Act if they are:

  • a parent of, or have responsibility for the care of, a child who is school age or younger;
  • a carer;
  • a person with disability;
  • aged 55 or older;
  • experiencing family violence; or
  • providing care or support to an immediate family member, or someone they live with, who is experiencing family violence


What obligations does an employer owe after an employee has requested flexible working arrangements?

If an employee, who is entitled to request flexible working arrangements, makes a written request for flexible working arrangements, an employer should:

  • consider the request;
  • discuss the request with the employee to try to reach an agreement about changes to their working conditions;
  • respond to the request in writing within 21 days;
  • state whether the request is granted or refused, and provide reasons if the request is refused; and
  • only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds.


What is the difference between Flexible Working Arrangements and an Individual Flexibility Agreement?

An individual flexibility agreement (known as an IFA) is a written agreement used by an employer and employee to change the effect of certain clauses in the applicable modern award or registered agreement, such as those relating to:

  • arrangements for when work is performed;
  • overtime rates;
  • penalty rates;
  • allowances; and/or
  • annual leave loading.

An IFA must result in the employee being better off overall and can only be made after the employee has commenced work.

The main difference is that flexible working arrangements do not change the effect of a modern award or registered agreement, whereas an IFA does.


Do you know what your obligations are when it comes to Flexible Working Arrangements? Need more information?

Contact HR Business Assist for our Request For Flexible Working Arrangements Cheat Sheet! Our HR consultants can provide you with tailored advice and template documents to ensure you meet your obligations.


HR Business Assist | P 1300 138 551 | E info@hrbusinessassist.com.au

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