Employees can’t demand flexible work arrangements

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

A recent case in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) shows that employers aren’t required to agree to an employee’s flexible work arrangement request.

The employee asked to start later and finish earlier each day and have time off every school holiday period, due to a change in their family circumstances.

This request was denied on the grounds that the business had more need for staff at opening and closing times and there was a high demand for leave during school holiday periods.

Management offered three alternatives, which the employee did not formally respond to. Management followed up and advised that if they did not reply within eight days "we will assume that you do not intend to return to work”.

The employee responded that they did want to return, but in the way that they requested. Management confirmed it could not agree and that the business had "repeatedly" advised this and if a response was not received, the employee’s employment would end.

The employee’s employment did come to an end and they lodged an unfair dismissal claim, stating that the dismissal was at the employer’s initiative.

FWC found that the employee had a job to return to, but they chose not to. It found that the business did not unfairly dismiss the employee, nor did it unreasonably refuse the request for a flexible working arrangement.

If you have any questions, contact Adrian Richards on (08) 8222 9212 or adrian@winesa.asn.au.