When can you say no to an employee’s request for a flexible work arrangement? It comes down to ‘reasonable cause'.

As of 1 December 2018, new rules governing flexible work arrangements are in effect. The change was made by the Fair Work Commission as part of its four-yearly review of modern awards.

Responding to a request

Before responding to the request, the employer must discuss and document the request with the employee. It must be shown that both parties have genuinely tried to reach an agreement on a change in working arrangements regarding:

  • the needs of the employee
  • if there are any consequences of the employee changing their work arrangements
  • any reasonable business grounds for refusing the request.
The employer must give the employee a written response to their request within 21 days, with either an agreement or refusal to the request.

If the request is denied, the written response must include the reasons why. And this can only be on reasonable business grounds, e.g. the cost setting an employee up to work from home, or in Adam’s case, no one else can complete his morning tasks and the business would suffer. 

It’s important to remember the new rules do not guarantee employees automatic rights to flexible arrangements, but do guarantee the right to a clear explanation of the request is denied.

Find out more.