Review of Part 6AA: Flexible Working Arrangements
The findings of the review of Part 6AA of the Employment Relations Act 2000
Comments on the process for requesting under current provisions
Given that most requests for flexible work are still being made informally, there is little evidence at this stage of how the provisions of Part 6AA have been working and, therefore, whether the process could be improved.
A number of stakeholders commented that the requirement that the employer must consider a request as soon as possible, but within three months, creates potential difficulties, as often the emergency or reason for asking may no longer be relevant by the time the response deadline is due.
Carers New Zealand commented that caring situations or emergencies can arise suddenly with arrangements needing to be made at short notice. While some employers will deal with requests as soon as possible, others may take longer to respond, which may mean the reason for asking may no longer be relevant, or the employee has had to leave employment because they were not able to arrange either short term or long term flexible work in time.
A number of stakeholders were also concerned that restricting employees to one request in any 12-month period may limit the usefulness of the legislation, as flexible working arrangements may need to be reviewed as employees’ circumstances change. For example, often people’s caring roles can change – either intensify or reduce – so they may want to vary their working arrangements more frequently. Employees can do this informally more than once a year, but only if the employer agrees.