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Requests for flexible working arrangements

work from home station

The Challenge

Agreement on flexible working arrangement

Joe is employed as a full-time medical receptionist by Practice C. He is the primary carer of his son and is about to return to his role after a period of parental leave.

Joe sends an email to the practice manager, Jamie, requesting that he be able to work part time, 3 days per week, for a period of 6 months. In his email, Joe says that he would like to work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

A week later, Jamie organises a meeting with Joe to discuss his request. During the meeting, Jamie says to Joe that it might be difficult for Practice C to accommodate his request because the practice is really busy on Tuesdays and needs extra receptionist coverage that day. Joe says that he would be happy to work on a Tuesday instead of a Thursday, provided he is able to start at 9:30am so he can drop his son at childcare before work. Jamie agrees to Joe’s suggestion.  

The next day, Jamie sends Joe an email confirming their agreement on the flexible working arrangement.  

How Avant Law can assist

If Practice C were unable to reach an agreement with Joe, our lawyers could provide Practice C with practical legal advice on what options are available to Practice C, including whether it has reasonable business grounds to refuse Joe’s request and the risks associated with that approach.

We can also provide support Practice C with advice on a recommended process and drafting documents to assist it with responding to and refusing flexible working requests where there are reasonable business grounds to do so in accordance with the new procedural requirements.

The Challenge

Failure to respond in 21 days

Jessica works at Practice D. Jessica is pregnant and finds the commute to Practice D difficult because of her morning sickness and the fact she can never get a seat on the train.

Practice D’s Practice Manager is on annual leave, so Jessica sends an email to Practice D’s Practice Owner and copies in the Practice Manager. In her email, Jessica requests that she be able to work from home full time so that she does not have to commute.  

The Practice Owner sees the email but decides not to respond and to leave it for when the Practice Manager gets back from leave in a month.  

As Jessica hasn’t heard back, after two weeks she approaches the Practice Owner and asks about her request. The Practice Owner says that the Practice Manager will reply when they are back from leave.  

After 21 days has passed since she sent the email, and because she has not received a written response, Jessica makes an application to the Fair Work Commission and the matter is listed for a conference by the Fair Work Commission.  

How Avant Law can assist

Our lawyers can assist Practice D by providing legal advice on the risks and potential outcomes of the Fair Work Commission process and its options for resolving the matter with Jessica either before or during the Fair Work Commission conference. Our lawyers can also represent Practice D at the conference with the Fair Work Commission, with leave of the tribunal, or support Practice D with talking points.

Additionally, we can provide Practice D with advice on a recommended process and drafting documents to assist it with responding to and refusing flexible working requests where there are reasonable business grounds to do so in accordance with the new procedural requirements.

We can help you

If you have any questions, or would like more information about how we can assist you or your practice, please call 1800 867 113, or to organise a confidential discussion at a time that suits you, please click here 

Disclaimers

The information in this article does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of this content. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. The information contained in this case study is fictional and only intended to outline some of the services that Avant Law offers.

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