Short-term flexible working

Employees who are affected by family violence can ask for flexible working arrangements for up to 2 months.

Working arrangements include:

  • hours and days of work
  • location of the employee's workplace
  • duties at work.

Employees can ask for this kind of flexible working at any time, even if the family violence took place before they became an employee or before the law changed.

The employer must reply in writing within 10 working days at the latest.

Employers must protect their employees’ personal information. If an employee wants to complain about how their employer has handled their personal information, they can go to the Privacy Commissioner.

The new right to ask for short-term flexible working arrangements adds to the right of all employees to ask for flexible working arrangements at any time and for any reason. Find out about Flexible working arrangements.

Asking for short-term flexible working

Employees must ask their employer in writing for changes to their normal working arrangements. The employee can also get someone else to ask for short-term flexible working for them.

The employee must give these details in writing:

  • their name
  • the date they are making the request on
  • say that they are asking for short-term flexible working, as set out in Part 6AB of the Employment Relations Act 2000
  • what they want to change about their normal working arrangements
  • how long they want these changes to last – up to 2 months
  • when they want these changes to start and finish
  • how these changes will help them
  • what changes the employer may need to make to the employer’s arrangements if they agree to the employee’s request.

Short-term flexible work request form for employees affected by family violence [DOCX 26KB]

Approving or declining

The employer must give their answer to a request for short-term flexible working in writing as soon as they can. They must reply within 10 working days at the latest.

If they want proof their employee is affected by family violence, they must ask for it within 3 working days of getting the request.

If the employee doesn’t give proof when asked, their employer may refuse their request. 

Proof of family violence 

Whether the employer says yes or no to the request, they must give their employee information about suitable support services that can help with family violence. They can do this when they give their written answer to the employee’s request, or before. The employer must do this by law.

Declining a request

If the employer refuses to give short-term flexible working to their employee, they must give details in writing and explain the ‘non-accommodation grounds’.

The employer can refuse a request only if they:

  • did not get the proof they asked for within 10 working days of getting the request
  • cannot reasonably change working arrangements – using a ‘non-accommodation ground’.

Find out about Declining a request and non-accommodation grounds.

If a request is refused

An employee can go to specialist services for help if they think their employer has either:

  • not followed the law – for example, has not responded to their request within 10 working days
  • got it wrong when they said they cannot reasonably change their working arrangements – for example has not used the right ‘non-accommodation grounds’ or has said they cannot reorganise work but the employee thinks they could.

Problems getting family violence rights

Paid leave rights

Employees affected by family violence also have the right to take at least 10 days of paid family violence leave – separate from annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave.

Family violence leave rights and responsibilities has more information.

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Page last revised: 01 April 2019

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