Flexible working arrangements

Under the National Employment Standards (NES) you have the right to ask for flexible working arrangements if you have at least 12 months of continuous service with your employer.

Some examples of flexible arrangements are:

  • allowing you to work from home some or all days
  • allowing you to work from another office or worksite
  • changing your start, finish or break times
  • allowing you to vary your hours, work part-time or job-share.

You need to ask in writing, giving details of the change you want and the reasons for this requested change. Your employer needs to accept or refuse your request in writing within 21 days of receiving the request. They can only refuse your request on reasonable business grounds, for example, the changes are too expensive or would cause a significant productivity loss.

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, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board or the Australian Human Rights Commission.

      − Sarah

Your proposed changes should be realistic and workable for you and your employer. Your company isn’t obliged to agree to all your requests – for example, if you ask to work from 8pm–10pm, three days per week, it may not suit the needs of the workplace.

After a few weeks of your new schedule, you can 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.

Managing flexible working conditions

  • If possible, take a few hours off instead of the whole day.
  • Try to schedule treatment sessions so you have more recovery time (e.g. late in the day or before your days off).
  • Explore working from home. Not having to commute may help you feel less tired.
  • Ask your employer if your colleagues can help do some of your work during absences.
  • Write down the plan you and your employer have agreed on, and then both sign it.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, don’t let your performance suffer too much before re-evaluating your work arrangements.
  • If appropriate, reduce your hours or organise job-sharing.
  • Let colleagues know about changes to your work hours.
  • Investigate tools to help you work from home or at your treatment centre, e.g. using a tablet or smart phone to get your emails, copying files to the cloud, or taking your work with you on a laptop.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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