The expansion of the relatively new right to request flexible working arrangements took effect on 1 July 2013, also as part of the FW Act amendments. Prior to this date, employees were only eligible to make such a request if they had completed 12 months’ service and had a child under school age or under 18 if they had a disability. Although the service requirement is unchanged, employees can now also make a request if they:
• are a carer;
• have a disability;
• are 55 or older;
• are experiencing family or domestic violence; or
• are caring for or supporting an immediate family or household member who requires care or support because of family or domestic violence.
The types of changes to working arrangements are unaffected and an employer can still refuse a request on “reasonable business grounds”. The onus is upon the employer to justify this.