A flexible working arrangement involves a change in the way an employee works, such as a change to the employee’s ordinary hours of work or place of work.
The Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act) provides for the way in which an employee’s working arrangement may be altered under a flexible working arrangement. Flexible working arrangements are not restricted to the matters identified in the Act.
The right to request a flexible working arrangement applies to all employees and is not restricted to specific purposes or categories of employees.
An employee seeking a flexible working arrangement must make the request in writing. The written request must state the proposed change in sufficient detail to allow the employer to make a decision about the request, and state the reasons for the change.
An employer has 21 days from receipt of a request to respond in writing to it.
The employer may grant the request:
There is no requirement for an employer to agree to a request for flexible working arrangements. However, any refusal, partial refusal or imposition of conditions must be made on reasonable grounds. While the Act does not define reasonable grounds the employer must explain the particular circumstances and reasons for his or her decision.
If the employer refuses, partly refuses or imposes conditions on the requested flexible working arrangement, the employer must include in their written response the reasons for the decision, including identifying the reasonable grounds for refusal, partial refusal or imposition of conditions.
The employer’s response must also state that the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has jurisdiction to hear and decide a dispute over the request.
Workplaces may have established systems and processes in place to facilitate employee requests for flexible working arrangements and for managers/employers to respond to those requests, provided they comply with the requirements of the Act.
Failure of an employer to respond to a request within the 21 day time frame is considered a refusal and as such the QIRC has jurisdiction to hear and decide a dispute over the request in the same manner as it would hear a dispute over a refusal, partial refusal or imposition of conditions on a request for a flexible work arrangement.
For specific information, contact your employer’s Human Resources or Industrial Relations area or your union.