Fair Work Commission rejects Union claim to set own Family Friendly Working Hours
- Under the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) proposal, employees would have had the right to unilaterally set their own working days and hours to suit their parenting / caring situations. Under this arrangement Employers would not be able to refuse an employee’s proposal. This proposal would ultimately leave employers with little to no discretion as to whether these working arrangements suited the business.
- The Fair Work Commission rejected this claim, on the basis that it may have substantial negative consequences for business.
- However, in its decision the Commission sought to strike a balance between Employers’ rights and the Unions’ requests by allowing employers’ the discretion to implement such arrangements – but also giving employees more transparency as to why such a decision was reached.
- The Fair Work Act 2009, currently allows for employees to request flexible working arrangements to accommodate personal circumstances (generally caring duties), which Employers can refuse on “reasonable business grounds”.
- The Commission has recommended that (on a provisional basis and subject to further submissions) a model clause will be incorporated into all awards which will supplement the existing National Employment Standards provision dealing with such requests.
- The proposed change will place further responsibilities on Employers with respect to consultation obligation and transparency when managing an employee’s request for flexible work arrangements.