Before commencing employment at a business, organisation or under an individual, an employment contract must be agreed to by both employer and employee. This employment contract may have had additional revisions, agreements or negotiated terms set out in full at signing. Still, after the past year, there may be specific issues or conditions that you’d like to amend before continuing with your employment.
One such condition that you can negotiate with your employer is working remotely.
Under the Fair Work Act, if you have been in your current position for longer than 12 months (and it is feasible for you to carry out your work responsibilities), you can seek to negotiate flexible working conditions. The National Employment Standards set out additional conditions for employers and employees to negotiate contract conditions and agreement.
You can make this request if you:
- Are the parent/responsible for the care of a child who is of school age or younger.
- Have a disability
- Are 55 or older
- Are currently experiencing violence from a member of their family
- Provide care or support to a member or their immediate family/household who requires care or support because they are experiencing violence from their family.
Other flexible working conditions that can be negotiated include:
- Changes in the hours that you work (reduction in hours worked
- Changes in the patterns of what you work (i.e. splitting shifts, job-sharing arrangements)
- Changes to the locations from which you work (such as working from home/another location/remotely)
Employers are not obligated to agree to these requests if there is reasonable grounds to do so. An employer may refuse these requests for more flexible working arrangements if:
- It is too costly for the employer to accommodate them
- There is no capacity to change the working arrangements of other employees to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee
- It is impractical to change working arrangements of other employees, recruit new employees or accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee.
- It results in a significant reduction or loss of efficiency or productivity.
- It would have a significantly negative impact on customer service.
Employers and employees should always discuss working arrangements and reach an agreement that balances both needs if possible. Always ensure that any agreements to conditions are noted in the amended contract and put in writing. Similarly, any refusals from employers must also be done in writing within 21 days of the proposed request.
The Fair Work Commission is able to deal with disputes about reasonable grounds for denial but always discuss with your employer first whether there could be an alternative solution.