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Australian Times

Business

Unions Back Flexible Work Hours

April 8, 2012 by rochelle in Business


Good news for parents who want more time with their families. Greens MP Adam Bandt issued a proposed law that would give parents the right to work from home. Unions and workplace law experts have praised the proposal. 

Under the present system, only parents with disabled kids under 18 or those with children that are not yet in school are allowed to have flexible work hours. Employers, however, can reject the work request if there is sufficient business basis and the decision is unappealable. 

Bandt’s proposal provides workers to request flexible work hours although employers still have the right to deny requests. Carers, on the other hand, are given more leeway as businesses can only deny requests if there are serious business reasons. 

The work arrangement is similar to that implemented in countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Britain. 

The Australian Industry Group, however, expressed its reservation on the proposal, saying businesses are facing tough times. The group also reasoned that many businesses in Australia provide work options to their employees. 

Genevieve Vaccaro, Ai Group workplace relations advisor, said that it would be better if an open dialogue is conducted between employers and workers. 

ACTU legal and industrial officer Belinda Tkalcevic disputed Ai Group’s statement, saying many workers don’t request for flexible work arrangements because employers are not interested at all. 

Carers Australia also expressed its concern that employers may refuse to hire female carers because of the flexible work arrangement. Australian Industry Group said this view is not a reflection of the group’s sentiment.

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