Workers whose employers do not discuss or genuinely try to reach agreement on requests for flexible work will be able to appeal to the Fair Work Commission thanks to a ruling handed down this afternoon.

The ruling falls short of guaranteeing a right to flexible working hours for people with family and caring responsibilities and others but is a step in the right direction and has been welcomed by the ACTU.

The ACTU and the Australian Union movement will continue to fight for guaranteed and enforceable flexible working arrangements for workers with family or caring responsibilities.


Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:  

“People should be able to advance their careers and care for their families, and if employers are unwilling to consider reasonable requests for altered hours to accommodate a caring responsibility then workers should be able to challenge that decision.

“We know that more than 80% of Australians have some form of caring responsibility, but women are over-represented in this group and are often forced out of work by inflexible work arrangements which do not allow women to balance care and work.

“We know this is one of the driving structural factors which contribute to the gender pay gap and women retiring in poverty. The ACTU thinks this is a step in the right direction in making sure our workplace laws are in tune to the modern needs of working women and working families.

“The ACTU will continue to fight for enforceable rights to flexible work, but employees will now be able to challenge an employer’s decision if they fail to genuinely try to reach agreement on flexible working arrangements.”