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Flexible Working Arrangements

In Law

Employees are entitled to ask for flexible work arrangements. Flexibility can be about days of work, hours of work, or place of work. Other arrangements might include part time work, job sharing, and shift work. Employers have a duty to consider any request for flexible working arrangements. This means that if an employee puts a request in writing, an employer must consider it, and respond in writing, within a month at the latest. Employers do not have to agree to any request for flexible arrangements, but they must give due consideration and proper reasons for declining a request.

In Practice

Employment Agreements quite commonly provide for more generous terms and conditions than are set down in the relevant legislation. Regardless of the legislation or agreement, many employers are, and always have been, naturally inclined to allow as much flexibility as they practically can. Flexibility allows employers to recruit higher caliber staff and reduce absenteeism, as well as improving staff morale, loyalty, and retention. Most managers and employers, recognise that even if flexible arrangements are not formalised, staff have family commitments, they have to go to doctors, dentists, and such, and they cannot easily attend to such things outside normal work hours. Many employees show great commitment and loyalty to their employers, working long hours and going the extra mile. There is naturally occurring give and take in good work relationships.

In practice, a few employers and managers are unable to cope with flexible work arrangements. For those employers and managers, arrangements flex only in their favo

ur. The employee can work as many hours in a day as they like, provided they always work more than 8 hours a day. They can work from home as much as they like, provided they have spent at least 40 hours per week in the office, and they can work as many days of the week as they like, provided it is always more than five. Even when flexible arrangements are formalised in writing, those sorts of personalities are unlikely to show the good sense and good faith necessary to make it work.

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