Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill – how the proposed changes to flexible work arrangements will impact your business.

In our second article on unpacking the impending industrial relations reforms, we look at the impact of the new procedures that would be introduced in how flexible work arrangements would lawfully be required to be managed.

Currently, an employer must respond to a request for a flexible work arrangement within 21 days of receipt, advising an employee whether their request is approved or refused and refusal permitted on reasonable business grounds.

Whilst these requirements would remain in place if the Bill is passed, employers would have additional requirements that will include:

  • a requirement to discuss the request with their employee and genuinely try to reach an agreement.
  • refusal only being permitted when agreement can’t be reached and the employer has genuinely considered the impact to the employee of refusing their request
  • the written response is required to include:
    •  detailed reasoning on what business grounds were relied upon to refuse the request
    • any changes the employer would be willing to make or confirmation that there is no change the employer is willing to make and;
    • providing information to the employee on their rights to take their case to the Fair Work Commission.

What are reasonable business grounds:

  • the new working arrangement will be too costly for the employer;
  • there is no capacity, or it would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other employees to accommodate the request;
  • the changes will likely result in a significant loss of efficiency or productivity; or
  • the changes will likely have a significant negative impact on customer service. 

The proposed reforms also make it very clear that the nature and size of the business will be taken into account to assess whether a business had reasonable grounds to refuse a request.

What do you need to do?

Business 360’s top tip is to get on the front foot:

  1. Consider how these changes might impact your current policy.
  2. Consider what flexible work options your business could offer.
  3. Decide how your business will handle such requests and who will be responsible for managing them.
  4. Keep notes on your ideas/plans ready for updating your current policy should the Bill succeed.

In the meantime, ensure your policy continues to operate according to the current legislative requirements.

Don’t have a policy, need assistance understanding the Fair Work rules or help with managing a flexible work request?

Reach out to us at Business 360 on 1300 287 360 or email  If you prefer a confidential discussion with one of our directors, click or scan here to book a time to discuss your needs.