- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Working during treatment and recovery
- Flexible working arrangements
Flexible working arrangements
Under the National Employment Standards (NES), people with a disability such as cancer have the right to ask for flexible working arrangements if they have at least 12 months of continuous service with their employer. Long-term casual employees may also ask for flexible working arrangements. For more information, visit fairwork.gov.au.
Some examples of flexible arrangements are allowing you to:
- work from home some or all days
- reduce the hours you work or change your start, finish or break times
- work from another office or suitable location
- vary your hours, split shifts, work part-time or job share.
You need to ask in writing, giving details of the changes you want and why you want them. Your employer needs to accept or refuse your request in writing within 21 days of receiving it. The only reason they can refuse your request is on reasonable business grounds (for example, the changes are too expensive). If your employer refuses your request and you don’t think their explanation is reasonable, you may be able to seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission or the discrimination agency in your state or territory.
Any proposed changes should be realistic and workable for both you and your employer. Your organisation isn’t obliged to agree to all your requests. For example, if you ask to work 8pm-10pm, three days each week, it may not suit the needs of the workplace. Learn some ways to manage flexible working conditions.
After a few weeks of the new schedule, catch up with your manager or human resources department to discuss whether the flexible arrangements are working for both you and your employer. You might want to change the arrangement once you know how the treatment is affecting you, or as you start to feel better.
Two days a week, I would have chemotherapy. I scheduled it at 1pm and I would work a half-day and spend the afternoon at home in bed.
Kerryann White, Manager, People and Culture, Cancer Council SA; Nicola Martin, Principal, McCabe Curwood, NSW; Jane Auchettl, Coordinator, Education and Training Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Alana Cochrane, Human Resources Business Partner, Greater Bank Newcastle, NSW; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, North West Regional Hospital, TAS; Dianne Head, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, NSW; Alex Kelly, Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Aon, NSW; Prof Bogda Koczwara AM, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Sharyn McGowan, Occupational Therapist, Bendigo Health, VIC; Jeanne Potts, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Michelle Smerdon, Legal and Financial Support Services Manager, Cancer Council NSW. We would also like to than the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.