Providing flexible working arrangements is beneficial to employers and employees. Workplaces that embrace secure flexible work are more likely to have high morale and productivity.
In Victoria, employers have a responsibility to make reasonable flexible work arrangements for an employee with parent or carer responsibilities.
What is flexible work?
Flexible work can include changes to your working hours, the way your work or the place you work.
A change to work arrangements may occur just once or be ongoing (for a fixed or unspecified time).
For people with disability, a flexible work arrangement may be a type of reasonable adjustment. In this case, your employer should manage your request through a reasonable adjustment process.
Who can request flexible work?
Under Victorian law (the Equal Opportunity Act 2010), an employer must approve reasonable requests for flexible work arrangements from parents and carers (so long as the arrangements are to meet their needs as a parent or carer).
Under Australian law (the Fair Work Act), other types of employees are also protected and have a right to request (rather than a right to obtain) flexible working arrangements. Read more about protections under the Fair Work Act.
The information on this page is about Victoria’s law and protections for parents and carers.
We can provide information and our complaints service in relation to Victoria’s laws. You are welcome to contact us if you believe you have experienced discrimination at work but are unsure if it falls under Victoria’s law. We can discuss your issue with you and refer you on if required.
Making a request for flexible work
There are various ways that you may raise your request with your employer. Under Victorian law there may be formal written processes in your workplace to follow or it may be an informal conversation with your supervisor.
Your employer must consider each request seriously and individually.
When you are discussing options with your employer, be prepared to explain how the flexible work arrangements will impact on your carer or parental responsibilities.
Also be prepared to consider how the arrangements may impact your workplace, based on the size, nature, and financial circumstances of the business.
When can an employer refuse a request for flexible work?
An employer does not have to agree to every request. However, under Victorian law they cannot refuse a request from a parent or carer unless it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances.
The key point is that each request must be considered seriously and individually.
Examples of reasonable attempts at flexible work arrangements
Understanding both flexible work arrangements and reasonable adjustments
Flexible work arrangements and reasonable adjustments allow all employees to work safely and productively.
The benefits of both are significant. They improve productivity, profitability, safety, and customer relations.
Watch Julia and Sam below as they provide a simple overview and examples of both types of work requests (two minutes).
How can we help
If you feel you have experienced discrimination when requesting flexible work, you can make a complaint to us. If you wish, someone else can make a complaint for you.
We can also give you information about your rights.
Find out how you can contact us.
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Disability and employment: reasonable adjustments
Employers must make reasonable adjustments to allow people with disability or injury to work productively and safely.