A guide for employees and employers
Making a request
Under what circumstances can I make a request?
An employee can make a request for flexible working arrangements under Part 6AA only in order to help with the care of another person.
This may cover a range of circumstances. For example, it may allow the employee to:
- spend more time with their children
- provide care when professional care is unavailable.
Who can make requests under Part 6AA?
Any employee who has the care of another person.
The Act does not define “care” or require a particular level of care. It can include but is not limited to, caring for:
- children (either your own or others)
- adults (e.g. elderly parents or others)
- whānau or āiga
You do not need to be related to those you care for or live in the same place.
Which workers are covered?
Employees who have worked for their employer for 6 months or longer.
How often can a request be made?
You can make only one request under part 6AA every 12 months.
It makes no difference if a previous request was made in relation to a different caring responsibility.
The 12 month period runs from the date when the first application was made.
But remember, you can talk to your employer at any time about informally varying your terms and conditions of employment.
Will employers ask for evidence or proof of the caring responsibilities?
It is always helpful and good practice to provide employer’s with as much information as necessary, such as evidence of a caring relationship – although this is not required by the Act.
In some circumstances an employer might wish to be satisfied that a request is being made in good faith, but there is no requirement under the legislation to ask for proof of the caring responsibility.
Employees are not required under the law to demonstrate that any particular level of care is required. For example, an employee asking for a change in hours in order to care for an elderly parent will not need to show that the parent is unable to cope alone.
Nor are employees required to demonstrate why they personally are needed to provide that care. For example, a father asking for reduced hours in order to care for his child will not be required to demonstrate why the care cannot be provided by the mother or by somebody else.
Requests for flexible working arrangements under Part 6AA can, however, only be made for the purpose of providing care, and not for other purposes.
What impact will a successful request for flexible working arrangements have on the employer’s business?
When making your request you need to explain what changes, if any, the employer may need to make if your request is approved.
It is also a good idea to suggest how the proposed working arrangement may benefit the business.
For example, you may argue that arriving half an hour later will have minimal impact on the business as this is the quietest time of the day and you can make up the time during the lunch period when it is far busier.
Your employer will make the decision on whether or not your request can be granted on business grounds rather than your personal circumstances.
So your application is most likely to succeed if it shows consideration for your employer’s business needs.
Will the change of working arrangement be permanent?
Unless you specify that your request for a new working arrangement will be for a set period of time, your request will be a permanent change to your terms and conditions of employment.
Neither the employee nor the employer has a right to revert back to the previous working arrangement unless otherwise agreed. So, for example, if your new flexible working arrangement involves working reduced hours you have no right to revert to working the hours you previously worked unless your employer agrees that you can do so.
Making a permanent change to an employment agreement is a big step and should not to be entered into lightly.
It’s a good idea for both employee and employer to consider a trial period or a limited period of working flexibly so that any problems can be ironed out before things are put on a permanent basis.
What kind of changes can be applied for?
There is scope to apply for a wide variety of working arrangements. Eligible employees can make a request to vary their:
- hours of work
- days of work
- place of work.
Flexible working arrangements incorporate a wide variety of working practices.
It doesn’t just mean being able to work part-time rather than full-time or being able to change shifts.
The options available are entirely up to you and your employer.
Some of the more common options are described in Definitions of Flexible Working Arrangements.
Make your request in writing
Your request must be made in writing but you can do this in whatever forms suits you best.
You can communicate with your employer by:
What to include in your request
The clearer your request is the better its chances of success.
It’s up to you to explain the working arrangement you want and how it can be made to work for both you and your employer.
To help you along, we’ve put together two handy guides:
This lists the information you’ll need to include in your request and the issues you’ll need to consider when preparing it.
When first putting your request together, make sure you cover the basic points listed in the Request Checklist.
The Request Checklist covers the basics.
How to help your employer approve your request
This lists the types of things you’ll need to include to help your employer make a decision.
Now you need to build a case that both meets your needs and those of your employer. To help you complete this part of your request, we’ve prepared the following guide.
Remember, in all cases, it is in your interest to be as clear and explicit as possible.