Australian Legislation Protects Workers’ Rights to Flexible Hours

workstation set up at cafe
(CC) Yortlabs/Flickr

Australian legislation that would protect and strengthen workers’ rights to ask for flexible hours is gaining support from workplace law experts and unions. If passed, the bill would make it legal for employees to request flex hours, so long as this schedule shift wouldn’t “seriously disrupt or damage” business.

As it currently stands, Australian employees only have a legal right to flexible hours at work if they have a child too young for school or an under-18 disabled child. If this legislation becomes law, all employees would be able to request flexible work hours, but businesses could still turn down requests on a case-by-case basis.

The idea has already been successful in the Netherlands, according to Greens MP Adam Bandt. “In the Netherlands, only something like 30 cases were litigated in the first year, and once the new standards are in place, 99 percent of workplaces find ways to sort it out themselves,” he explained.

Do you think all workers should be able to request flexible work schedules?