Does your business have a Flexible Working Arragement Policy? When the National Employment Standards (NES) were introduced in 2009, many employers were fearful of how the implementation of the standards would impact the productivity of their business. They needn’t have worried. Although it’s taken time to mould some rigid thought patterns about how, when and where we work, flexibility is becoming the ‘new normal’. It can also be the key to securing high calibre and diverse talent in a business. Over 70% of Australian organisations in the private sector now have flexible working strategies and policies in place. In fact, for many organisations, providing a flexible working environment can be a fantastic benefit when looking to attract candidates to your workplace. For many employers, FWA is a low cost ability to increase staff retention and reduce absenteeism
What is a Flexible Working Arrangement Policy?
Under the National Employment Standards (NES), employees who have worked longer than 12 months in a workplace are entitled to request flexible working arrangements to assist them to care for their child (school aged or under 18), if they are a carer, have a disability or other factors.
Examples of changes in working arrangements may include:
- Changes to start and finish times
- Changes to work patterns such as job sharing or split shifts
- Changes to the location of work including working from home
A Flexible Working Arrangement Policy should be included in the HR Manual for a business and should outline the organisation’s stated intent and practices to provide a flexible working environment. It assists companies to meet the basic legal obligations and supports Managers within the business to make consistent decisions, promoting a culture of fairness within the organisation.
The prime objective of the policy is to support employees to manage both their participation in paid work while managing other commitments within their lives, providing clarity around expectations and entitlements. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has provided a guide, which outlines the characteristics of an FWA Policy. Additionally, a template for an FWA Policy has been outlined by Business Victoria.
Flexible Work requests should be carefully considered by a company. It’s important to note that refusals can be made on reasonable business grounds. All requests and subsequent responses must be made in writing within 21 days. If a business refused a request, the reasons must be carefully outlined.
If your business requires support developing a Flexible Working Arrangement Policy, speak to the HR Consulting team at Flexi Personnel.