What is flexible work?
Flexible work is the opportunity for people to make changes to:
- the hours they work (over a day, a week or year)
- the times and days they work
- where they work.
Flexible work also affects :
- how careers are organised
- how transitions in and out of work are managed
- how work is managed in the workplace so that employees and businesses benefit.
Read a description of some common types of flexible work
All employees have a right to request flexible work
All employees have a right to request a change to their working arrangements, from the first day of their employment. They must make their request in good faith. Employees can make as many requests as they wish in a year.
Employers must respond to requests within 1 month, in writing. They must consider and answer requests in good faith. Employers can only refuse flexible working arrangements on the grounds listed in the Employment Relations Act 2000.
Why flexible work is good for everyone
Flexible work can benefit employees, employers, the economy, communities and the environment.
Having flexible work arrangements is becoming an important part of New Zealand workplaces. A pressing issue for many New Zealanders is trying to balance work with other things in their lives, such as caring for children or older parents, playing sport or working in the community. We are also working longer hours and taking longer getting to and from work – flexible work helps to accommodate this.
New Zealand’s healthy economy means that there are more people in the workforce, yet employers are finding it more difficult to find the skilled workers they need. Many employers are offering flexible working arrangements to attract and retain employees and to support them to do other important things in their lives.
Increasingly, organisations are also looking at ways to become more sustainable. Flexible work options are being used by some organisations as part of their travel planning strategies. This helps reduce car trips to and from the workplace.
Flexible work in other countries
Many other countries have also developed resources on flexible work that you may find useful.