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Reminder of start of flexible working rights

29 June 2008

Reminder of start of flexible working rights

Labour Minister Trevor Mallard today reminded workers of their new entitlements to flexible working arrangements - available from 1 July - for those who need to balance their work with caring for other people.

"This new provision is just another step in improving the choices available to workers. It will allow workers with caring responsibilities to better balance these demands with paid work. The legislation was a Green Party initiative which the government supported to enable its passage into law," Trevor Mallard said.

From 1 July employees with caring responsibilities will have a specific right to ask their employers for flexible working arrangements.

"Flexible working arrangements are already well established in many businesses so this isn’t anything revolutionary but it does provide a simple and consistent process for workers and their employers when considering flexible work options," Trevor Mallard.

To be eligible for the right to ask for flexible working arrangements, workers must have worked for their employer for at least six months and be caring for someone. If they meet these minimum requirements, they can request flexible working arrangements that help balance their work and care.

"These new provisions will improve the working lives of many New Zealanders who need to combine work with the need to care for family, friends or simply neighbours who are in need. The provisions are very flexible —once the basic criteria are met the options are unlimited. What the arrangements look like is entirely up to the two parties involved and that’s got to be good for workers, businesses and our communities," said Trevor Mallard.

Employers must consider and respond to employee requests within three months and employees can make only one application in any twelve month period. The new provisions are unlikely to have any effect on existing flexible working arrangements.

The Department of Labour is supporting the introduction of the new legislation with advertising and web-based information for both employers and employees. See also www.dol.govt.nz/worklife

ENDS

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