Guide to new employee rights for parents & carers

GUIDE TO NEW EMPLOYEE RIGHTS LAUNCHED

New Victorian legislation that will boost the rights of parents and carers balancing work and family responsibilities is explained in a comprehensive guide launched by Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls today.

The guide, jointly developed by the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission and Industrial Relations Victoria, details the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees under amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 that come into effect next month.

From September 1, employers in Victoria must seriously consider flexible work arrangements for both existing workers with family responsibilities and those offered a job.

"The new legislation is significant as it delivers extra protection from discrimination to working parents and carers who have family responsibilities," Commission Chair Michael W Gorton, AM, said.

"There are implications for both employees and employers and these are explained in the guidelines, 'Building eQuality in the workplace: Family Responsibilities - Guidelines for Employers and Employees'.

Under the changes, when considering a request for changed work arrangements an employer should take into account all relevant facts and circumstances including:
· the nature of the employees work and parental/carer responsibilities
· the nature of cost of any alternative arrangements
· the financial circumstances for the employer
· and the impact on the workplace.

Mr Gorton said an employer would not be compelled to agree to every request for changes to existing work arrangements.

"But they should seriously consider such a request and any other options that may be suitable," he said.

"The aim of the guidelines is to help employers and employees strike a balance between business needs and family responsibilities."

Employees who believe their employer has unreasonably refused to accommodate their family or carer responsibilities after September 1 will be able to lodge a complaint with the Commission.

. 'Building eQuality in the workplace: Family Responsibilities - Guidelines for Employers and Employees' is available on the Commission's website www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/publications. More information is available at www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au or by calling the Commission's enquiry line on (03) 9281 7100.




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