Carefully consider flexible work requests. You may refuse a request, but only on reasonable business grounds. All requests and subsequent responses must be in writing within 21 days – and if you do refuse the request – you must set out your reasons why.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides more details and guidelines for employers on flexible working arrangements

Create a flexible working policy

Providing flexible working arrangements can benefit both you and your employees.

Include your flexible working policy in your Human Resources (HR) manual. This will ensure that your employees know what's expected of them if they want to ask for flexible working arrangements.

If you haven't created a HR manual yet, use our template below and adjust it to suit your business needs.

As part of the National Employment Standards (NES), employees who have worked longer than 12 months (including regular casuals) are entitled to request flexible working arrangements to help them care for their child (school aged or under 18, or who has a disability).

Consider one of the following options to increase loyalty and productivity in your business.

1. Permanent part-time work

Permanent part-time work can help provide a part-time income for a family with a new child and works really well for two parent families.

2. Graduated return to work after parental leave

Graduated return to work after parental leave is when the employee returns part-time and then builds up to full-time work by an agreed date.

3. Flexible start and finish times

Offering your staff flexible start and finish times helps accommodate childcare and school pick-up requirements.

4. Flexible rostering

Flexible rostering includes split shifts.

5. Job sharing

Job sharing is where two or more employees share one full-time position – each working on a part-time basis.

6. Work from home

Working from home is a great option for employees with young families.

Make sure you have good systems and policies in place including OHS to allow for productivity to continue when staff work from home.

7. Purchased leave – 48/52 leave

Purchased leave is where employees take an additional four weeks leave per year by adjusting their salary to 48 weeks paid over the full 52 weeks.

8. Compressed hours

Compressed hours is where employees work additional daily hours to provide for a shorter working week or fortnight.

Considering a request for flexible work options

As an employer, if you receive a request for flexible working hours, consider the following:

  • Employee's work and parental or carer responsibilities.
  • Parenting costs for the employee.
  • Financial circumstances of the employer.
  • Effect of the flexible working arrangements on the workplace.
  • Consequences for the business.
  • Consequences for the employee of not having the arrangements.