Flexible work

Key dates

6 June 2023: Changes commence to the process for responding to requests for flexible work.

Continuous line drawing of a page in a calendar.

What's changing?

From 6 June 2023, pregnant employees will be eligible to request a flexible work arrangement.

In addition, an employer will only be able to refuse an employee's request for flexible work where:

  • the employer and employee have been unable to reach agreement after discussing the request;
  • the employer has made genuine efforts to identify an alternative working arrangement they would be willing to make to accommodate the employee's circumstances;
  • the employer has considered the consequences of the refusal for the employee;
  • the refusal is based on reasonable business grounds (e.g. due to cost, loss of efficiency or productivity, negative impact on customer service, or if changing the working arrangements of other employees or recruiting new employees to accommodate the request would be impractical).

Employers are required to:

  • respond to requests within 21 days;
  • provide detailed reasons for the particular business grounds relied upon in refusing the request and how they apply;
  • inform the employee of any alternative working arrangements;
  • inform the employee of the availability of dispute resolution processes through the FWC.

If the matter cannot be resolved internally a new dispute resolution process, also in effect from 6 June 2023, will allow an employer or employee to apply to the Fair Work Commission to conciliate and, if unsuccessful, arbitrate the dispute.


Employees who have completed at least 12 months' continuous service, including casual employees engaged on a regular and systematic basis, are eligible to request a flexible work arrangement (eg. reduced hours, job share, remote or hybrid work, etc.) provided they meet one of the following personal circumstances:

  • The employee is a parent of a child of school age or younger.
  • The employee is a carer as defined by law.
  • The employee has a disability.
  • The employee is aged 55 or over.
  • The employee is experiencing family violence or is supporting an immediate family member or household member facing family violence.


Before 6 June

  • Establish processes for assessing and responding to flexible work requests.
  • Provide appropriate training to human resources and/or managerial staff in how to give genuine consideration to requests for flexible work arrangements.
  • Consider what limitations exist in relation to offering flexible working arrangements and how these limitations might be evidenced.

After 6 June

  • Actively engage in discussions with employees within the 21-day response period to minimise the risk of a protracted dispute.

For more information, visit our Flexible work and reasonable working hours insight.

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