How to ask for more flexible work arrangements

With employee burnout on the rise, flexibility continues to be the number one driver for job applicants we speak with on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, while many organisations are finding successful new ways of working, not all employers have embraced these changes and some industries are further behind than others.

So if you’re struggling to juggle your work responsibilities with your personal life, here are our suggestions for approaching your employer to discuss flexible work arrangements:

Understand your legal rights

In Australia, employees have certain legislative rights regarding flexible work arrangements, particularly for parents and carers. However, employers are only obliged to consider such requests, not necessarily grant them. So before approaching your employer, familiarize yourself with your legal rights to ensure that you’re approaching the conversation from a position of knowledge and confidence.

Identify the type of flexibility you need

When approaching your boss, be specific about the type of flexibility you need. For instance, if you have childcare responsibilities, be specific with the hours and days you require flexibility around to be able to manage pick ups or drop offs. Alternatively, you may want to work remotely to avoid the stress and added hours of commuting. Whatever the case, be clear about the type of flexibility that would benefit you and your employer.

Prepare a proposal

Before approaching your employer, prepare a proposal outlining your request for flexible work arrangements. Your proposal should outline the benefits of flexible work arrangements for both you and the organisation. You can also suggest some possible solutions that would work for both parties such as working from home one or two days a week or adjusting your working hours to accommodate your personal commitments.

Schedule a meeting with your employer

Once you’ve prepared your proposal, schedule a meeting with your employer to discuss your request for flexible work arrangements. During the meeting, be prepared to explain why you need flexible work arrangements and how it would benefit the organisation. You can also use this opportunity to answer any questions your boss may have and address any concerns they may raise.

Negotiate a compromise

If your employer is hesitant about your request for flexible work arrangements, try to negotiate a compromise. You may need to be flexible yourself and consider different options that work for both parties. You could also propose a trial period to test the new arrangements and assess their impact on the organisation. This way, you can address any issues before committing to a long-term arrangement.

Follow up on the outcome

After the meeting, be sure to follow up with your employer to confirm the outcome of the discussion. If your request is approved, make sure to discuss the details of the new arrangements and document them in writing. If your request is denied, ask for feedback on why it was rejected and whether there are any alternatives.


Flexible work arrangements are crucial for working parents in Australia. In recent years, the Australian government has introduced a range of legislative rights to support working parents, including the right to request flexible work arrangements. These rights apply to all employees with caring responsibilities, including parents, grandparents, and guardians.

The right to request flexible work arrangements is a formal process that allows employees to ask their employers to change their work arrangements to accommodate their caring responsibilities. This includes changes to working hours, working from home, job sharing, and part-time work. Employers must consider these requests and respond to them in writing within 21 days.



Already decided to search for a more flexible employer? Check out our post on how to ask about flexible work arrangements in your interview here, and be sure to sign up for job alerts from our family-friendly employers.