Rejection of employee’s request for flexible work arrangement was lawful

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By Jessica Bowman

The Fair Work Commission has found in favour of an employer in a dispute about a flexible working arrangement.

The applicant, an employee of Western Water for more than 25 years, sought to enter into a flexible working arrangement by ‘compressing’ his hours into four days a week. Among other things, this would allow him to provide care for elderly relatives. Western Water refused his request. The parties were covered by an enterprise agreement, which provided that alternate compressed work hour arrangements could be negotiated with employees individually, while balancing the operational needs of Western Water. The enterprise agreement also contained a number of statements about the parties’ intent to facilitate work/life balance. The commission was asked to determine whether Western Water was entitled, in all the circumstances, to refuse the employee’s request…

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