From 1 September 2008 the Equal Opportunity Act 1996 (Vic)
(Act) will be amended by the Equal Opportunity Amendment (Family
Responsibilities) Act 2008 (Vic) to ensure that employers do not
unreasonably refuse to accommodate an individual's parental or
carer responsibilities in relation to their work
The Act will now provide that an employer must not unreasonably
refuse to accommodate the responsibilities that an employee or job
applicant has as a parent or carer in relation to their work
arrangements. This means that an employer should not refuse
flexible work arrangements for employees or job applicants with
family responsibilities without considering all the
According to the Act, the employer must seriously consider all
relevant facts and circumstances when considering a request for
flexible work arrangements, including:
the person's circumstances, including the nature of his or
her responsibilities as a parent or carer; and
the nature of the person's role; and
the nature of the arrangements required to accommodate those
the financial circumstances of the employer, principal or firm;
the size and nature of the workplace and the employer's,
principal's or firm's business; and
the effect on the workplace and the employer's,
principal's or firm's business of accommodating those 6.
the financial impact of doing so;
the number of persons who would benefit from or be
disadvantaged by doing so;
the impact on efficiency and productivity and, if applicable,
on customer service of doing so; and
the consequences for the employer, principal, or firm of making
such accommodation; and
the consequences for the individual of not making such
Flexible work arrangements are any arrangements that will assist
an individual to balance their work and parental or carer
responsibilities. Flexible work arrangements may therefore include
part time hours, job sharing, starting and finishing work earlier
or later, working from home, changing the times of meetings,
limiting the requirement for after work hour commitments
Tim Greenall, a Special Counsel at Madgwicks, is a
recognised leader in Workplace Relations advising on all aspects of
employment law, enterprise bargaining, equal opportunity and
occupational health and safety. Tim has been published in the
Australian Financial Review and quoted in Australasian Legal
Business magazine on WorkChoices and the new Fair Work Bill.
Additionally Tim is a Senior Lecturer and a member of the
Professional Advisory Board at the La Trobe University Law
Laura Simmons-Strempel, a Lawyer at Madgwicks, advises
individuals and organisations on many issues pertaining to
Workplace Relations including industrial disputes, equal
opportunity, unfair and unlawful dismissals and common law
contracts of employment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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