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For workers

The benefits of flexible work arrangements (PDF 458 kb) for workers include:

  • greater capacity to balance work with child care and other family responsibilities
  • active participation in the workforce in a manner which suits your personal circumstances e.g. parents, carers, older workers
  • more time for community involvement e.g. voluntary work
  • flexibility to participate in recreational activities e.g. sport, hobbies
  • a more enjoyable work life, with increased job satisfaction and productivity
  • improved personal health and wellbeing, and reduction in stress levels
  • potential savings in transport costs and commuting time.

They can also offer the opportunity to:

  • better manage your workload
  • study and build new skills and knowledge
  • engage with other workers and customers if working at alternate work sites
  • focus on specific work tasks outside of a busy and noisy work environment, when working from home.

Approaching your employer

How do you go about approaching your employer with a request for flexible work arrangements?

First, do some research. Establish your entitlements under any legislation, workplace policies, industrial awards or agreements, or the National Employment Standards. SafeWork SA can provide information and advice. You might also seek advice from your manager, human resource department or a trusted colleague.

Then, prepare and present a proposal. Write a clear proposal about your flexibility requirements and arrange a meeting to discuss it with your team leader or manager. Be prepared to explain the benefits of your proposal and to compromise. Your manager may need time to consider your request or wish to trial it for a period of time.

Keep in mind that new policies or individual arrangements are made at the discretion of your employer who may choose to introduce them in a variety of ways. Any changes to your conditions or position description should also be agreed upon and put in writing.

Some workers have a right to request flexible work arrangements

You can make a request for flexible work arrangements under the National Employment Standards (NES) if you work in the private sector and have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with your employer. You may be entitled to request a change in your working arrangements, if you:

  • are a parent of, or have responsibility for the care of, a child who is of school age or younger
  • are a carer (within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
  • have a disability
  • are 55 or older
  • are experiencing violence from a family member
  • provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household because they are experiencing violence from their family.

A worker who is returning to work after taking parental or adoption leave may also request to return on a part-time basis to help them care for the child.

If you make a request under the NES your employer must provide a written response within 21 days, stating whether they grant or refuse the request. Your employer may refuse the request only on reasonable business grounds. If the request is refused, the written response must include the reasons for the refusal.