Offering employees flexible working hours, like other flexible work arrangements, is a way to create a productive workplace that is free of discrimination.
In some circumstances, a rule that requires all employees to work certain hours can be indirect discrimination as it may have an unfair effect on some groups of people, such as people with disabilities, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people of a particular age.
Offering employees flexible working hours can involve:
- changing start or finish times, for example, by allowing an employee to start later or finish earlier in the day
- offering split shifts
- offering employee breaks during shifts.
Example: An employer allowed staff to choose to start and finish work later in the day. This ensured that a staff member who took medication that made him drowsy in the mornings was not disadvantaged.
Offering flexible working hours is a way that employers can make a reasonable adjustment in the workplace to allow a person with a disability to do their job.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), requests for flexible work arrangements must be seriously considered by the employer and can only be refused on reasonable business grounds