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Do Employers have to Accommodate Working from Home Requests?

The short answer is “it depends on circumstances” but the Fair Work Commission (June 2022) latest ruling states that it cannot be insisted upon when its reasonable for the employer to have the employee perform their functions and role in the workplace.

Any employee can ask for flexibility in work hours and working from home arrangements but it does not have to be granted, and there is no legal obligation for this to be granted. Employees who can ask for this have been employed for 12 months, permanent or regular casuals. The Fair Work Act legal entitlement circumstances that are considered are if they are: –

  • a parent of, or have responsibility for the care of, a child who is school age or younger
  • a carer (within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
  • a person with disability
  • aged 55 or older
  • experiencing family violence, or
  • providing care or support to a family member, or someone they live with, who is experiencing family violence.

Negotiation is the key to a successful outcome for the employer and the employee to have a content, stable and productive workforce. However, the request can be legally refused on business grounds such as: –

  • cost 
  • capacity 
  • practicality                                                                                        
  • inefficiency or impact 

To be effective have a policy regarding this area and show you support this flexibility to give your business and advantage to attract and keep staff. Replacing staff is always costly. Your policy should support other policies to give your employees genuine work life balance.

Your flexibility policy should:

  • Explain who can request a flexible working arrangement. 
  • Outline the types of arrangements that could be available in your workplace.
  • Tell employees how to make a request. 
  • Describe how you will consider the request. 
  • Tell employees how you will respond to the request. 
  • Detail how you will record the arrangement. 
  • Explain how you will monitor and review the arrangement. 

To view this in more detail on Developing a Policy, please see our full article on our website here.

Contact us at Performance Advantage today to look at your flexible working arrangements and we can develop a policy for your business!

Suzanne Diprose, Director
0408 897 079