Are You Ready to Handle Flexible Working Requests?

December 1, 2009

Under the new Fair Work Act, employees with 12 months continuous service and who are a parent or primary carer of a school aged child or an under 18 child with a disability has the right from January 2009 to request flexible working arrangements.

This may take the form of a change in work hours, work location, or work patterns.

Requests must be made by the employee in writing and outline what they want to change and the reason for this change.

Organisations must remember to respond in writing within 21 days whether the request is granted or not and may only refuse based on reasonable business grounds.

Is Your Organisation Ready?

Here are some questions you may wish to consider whether your organisation is ready to handle these requests that may start flowing in from next week:

    • Have you identified who in the organisation will be managing requests?
    • Have you provided adequate training on the Fair Work Act, that you are comfortable that this person or these individuals have the knowledge and skills to make the assessment?
    • Have you defined a process or work flow to outline the important people, steps, inputs and outputs? Some key items may include:

~ Who and how do employees submit their requests?

~ What is the assessment process that the organisation will go through?

~ Who is preparing the response letter and how will this be delivered?

~ If the request is granted, does anything else need to happen e.g. employment contract changes, workload redistribution etc?

  • Have you set up template letters that can be customised to respond to employees?
  • Have you got a system in place to ensure that all requests are responded to within the legislative deadline of 21 days?
  • How will you support Management and their teams if individuals within their area have their working arrangements change?


I hope you find the above points helpful to determine whether you are ready for the Fair Work Act changes.  For more information, please visit the government Fair Work website at

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