IR – Individual Flexibility Arrangements, “High Risk”


Businesses that utilise individual flexibility arrangements (IFAs), but dont have a way of proving employees are achieving more, are in a “high-risk situation”, says Labour Solutions Australia Managing Director, Andrew Northcott.

IFAs, which were introduced alongside modern awards in January this past year, enable an individual and an employer to vary certain conditions of the worker’s award or arrangement by mutual consent.

Conditioned upon the employee’s arrangement, variations might pertain to stipulations about when work must be performed, by what means the employee must be paid, overtime rates, fee rates, allowances or leave loading, Northcott says.

If a worker wants extra or different shifts, as well as their company is prepared to provide them, both parties can be benefited by an IFA.

For example, a parttime university student with a limited capability to work through the week might need to vary their arrangement for to allow them tom to work weekends for your additional cash. This may take the company’s needs too, since it means they are prone to retain the worker.

“The crucial matter is, workers really must be better off,” Northcott says.

“If employers desire to rely on an IFA, they really should take a step back and say, ‘Can we demonstrate the worker is better off below this IFA?’

When offering an IFA to multiple workers, Northcott says employers have to exercise special care.

“When you’ve got these group applications, employers have to be really mindful they’re not simply trying to cut their prices, because an IFA isn’t created for that – an IFA was created for accurate, real advantage to someone.”

Because of this, it is crucial that employers evaluate each arrangement on a case-by-case basis, giving careful thought to each employee’s individual conditions and rejecting any proposals that disadvantage the worker.

“However, they’d have to be quite cautious, when they’ve approved them for other workers in similar conditions, that their reasons for not approving them are not discriminatory,” he adds.

Policies and instruction are essential

It’s a highrisk situation with the penalties which exist under the laws [so]policies and education of these people is essential.”

Policies should spell out when an IFA may be entered into (for example, it can’t be a state of employment), its goal, and also the duties of both company and worker, Northcott says.

They must likewise require the worker who’s agreeing to the IFA why they’ll be more fortunate to record, to additional safeguard against danger.

Northcott says employers should return to the worker at least annually to affirm the advantages that caused them all to enter into the arrangement still employ, because private situation change.

“I think there’ll be lots of employers… at risk of the IFA not providing the advantages they believe they’re providing,” he says.

It’s also significant to prevent taking advantage of workers who speak English for a second language or lack knowledge in their workplace rights, Northcott says.

In a recent instance, an employer told workers that if they didn’t sign as much as an IFA, it would not be capable of offering them shifts which were previously accessible.

It might also bring about an undesirable actions claim because an employee’s capability to accept or reject an IFA without punishment is really a workplace right, he says.


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Labour Solutions Australia Pty Ltd specialises in temporary, permanent and outsourced workforce solutions with a strong focus on Food Processing, Civil and Building Construction, Mining and Engineering, Transport and Logistics, Manufacturing and Agribusiness staffing needs.

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