The peak union body the ACTU has submitted a claim to the Fair Work Commission in an effort to attempt to expand entitlements for workers returning from parental leave. The claim seeks to give workers the right to work part time, among other things, and not just request it in the hope that the employer will exercise its discretion to accept the worker’s request.
The proposed change would require workers seeking reduced hours to apply in writing to the employer 28 days before their scheduled return date, with the employer then having 14 days to discuss the application with the worker. In considering the application, the employer would have to take into account numerous relevant factors, including the employee’s circumstances; the role at work; the arrangements required to accommodate the circumstances; the consequences for the employee of not doing so and any available alternative arrangements. It is proposed the employer has 21 days to provide written reasons for any refusal.
If the proposed changes are implemented, the implications could very well be significant for employers and the greater workforce. Sally Woodward, a Partner in our Sydney Labour and Employment team has recently considered these implications for the Australian Financial Review. Click here to read Sally’s article.