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Flexible arrangements working well for businesses: ACCI

09 November, 2017

Business owners are granting 90% of requests for flexible working hours, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said recently.

"Business owners value their staff and grant requests where they can," said Alana Matheson, Deputy Director, Workplace Relations, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"The current arrangements are working well."

The Australian Chamber recently lodged a submission with the Fair Work Commission in response to an Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) claim for people who are parents or carers to be able to set their own hours. If the ACTU claim was granted, business owners would have no say, even if the new hours created safety risks or impacted on other employees.

"The Fair Work Act already contains a provision enabling employees to make flexible working requests in a range of circumstances, including if they are carers or parents of a child of school age or younger," Matheson said. "An employer can only refuse on reasonable business grounds. Ninety per cent of these requests are granted. The current system is working well.

"It is important that we have a framework that supports the participation of parents and carers in the labour market. However there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account when considering requests to change working hours, including regulatory requirements such as childcare ratios and work health and safety issues, production processes, impacts on other employees and the ability to source someone to cover duties where hours are reduced. The current balance should be retained."

The Commission hearings are expected to be concluded in December.

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