LawWorks News

Flexible Working Arrangements are here! - August 2008

Employees requesting flexible working arrangements to care for someone now have the law on their side. The new Part 6AA of the Employment Relations Act 2000 sets out a process that employers must follow to respond to such a request, including timeframes, although employers can still refuse a request if they believe the arrangements can’t be accommodated.

The new obligations cover any employee who has worked for their employer for the previous 6 months and has the care of any person. Working arrangements mean hours, days and place of work. Employers must consider requests and respond promptly, but can refuse a request that can’t reasonably be accommodated for specific reasons, including an inability to reorganise work among existing staff, detrimental impact on quality or performance, and the burden of additional costs.

Although there are limited reasons for refusing requests, there is little an employee can do if they disagree with their employer's refusal. Employees can only take enforcement steps if the employer has said they are ineligible or not followed the process. It could be argued that the new law will provide even more paperwork for employers while changing very little for employees. But the process should be relatively simple and will give employees some comfort their requests are seriously considered.

Contact Anna Fitzgibbon on DDI 303 9918 or Michelle Dean on DDI 303 9913.

<< Back to News