The Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission has published guidelines for employers and employees about the new ‘family responsibilities’ under the state’s Equal Opportunity Act. From 1 September 2008, changes to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 will protect working parents and carers from discrimination when trying to balance their work and family responsibilities.
The guidelines provide details of the amendments, offer answers to common questions asked by employers and employees, and include a model process that employees and employers can use to make and consider requests for changes to work arrangements.
An employer cannot unreasonably refuse to accommodate an employee’s parental or carer responsibilities to their work arrangements under these guidelines. In effect, this means that an employer should not refuse flexible work arrangements for workers with family responsibilities, without considering all of the circumstances; and all requests should be seriously considered.