Declining a request

What to do when declining a request for flexible work arrangements.

In some cases you may not be able to approve the requested flexible working arrangement. However, it’s important that you give all requests your full consideration. You may want to explore alternatives to find an arrangement that works for you and your employee.

When declining a request, you must:

  • state the ground/s for your refusal, and
  • explain the reasons for these ground/s.

How to decline a request

There will always be circumstances where, due to the needs of the business, the employer feels they can’t accept a request. Employers can refuse a request:

  • on one or more of the following recognised business grounds
  • if it conflicts with a collective agreement.

Recognised business grounds or non-accommodation grounds

  • Cannot reorganise work among existing staff
  • Cannot recruit additional staff
  • Negative impact on quality
  • Negative impact on performance
  • Not enough work during the periods the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes
  • Burden of additional costs
  • Negative effect on ability to meet customer demand.

Conflicts with a collective employment agreement

Employers must refuse a request if the proposed new working arrangement conflicts with the provisions of an employee’s collective employment agreement. This could come up in a number of sectors and industries.

However, there are also likely to be times where a compromise can be reached between the employer, the employee making the request, and other employees in the workplace. Employers, employees and unions are encouraged to discuss these issues with a view to developing procedures for dealing with such conflicts before they come up.

Notifying the employee

Employers are required to notify the employee of their decision in writing, and if the request is refused, to give reasons for the refusal.

Download form

To make the process a bit easier, you can use

Form C: Flexible working arrangements decline request form [DOC 57KB].

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Page last revised: 01 April 2019

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