As promised, here is the balance of my article on FWAs for your information and feedback.
I sincerely hope you will take a few moments out of your busy schedule to take part and share your thoughts in the online survey or via other methods as outlined below by June 30, 2016.
Assuming the right to request an FWA is created, the federal government also wants to discuss how to promote employees’ exercise of the right, and monitor employers’ responses to such requests, including penalizing non-compliant employers. Some proposed ideas include:
- awards for good workplace practices;
- an anonymous complaints process;
- employer self-audits;
- third-party complaint procedure, such as a ombudsperson;
- joint employer-employee committees for alternative dispute resolution; and
- monetary penalties and/or public disclosure of information of non-compliant employers, or for employer retaliation against the exercise of such right.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?
Accommodating an employee’s request for an FWA will likely result in employers having to adapt or change their workplace structure and/or practices. Doing so may also impose additional costs on the employer, such as having to provide the necessary technology and cloud storage capacity for employees working remotely or hiring replacement staff or paying overtime staff to cover employees who are working part-time or taking leaves. In addition, if an appeal or complaints process is imposed with these amendments, the lack of jurisprudence on this issue is also a cause for concern.
Please Note: With these federal changes in the works, amendments to provincial and territorial labour and employment legislation may also be on the horizon.
PLEASE LEND YOUR VOICE TO THIS IMPORTANT DISCUSSION
The federal government has published a paper with a series of questions to generate discussion on the issue of the right to request FWAs.
WE HAVE UNTIL JUNE 30, 2016, TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ONLINE SURVEY, EMAIL, TELEPHONE, TWITTER VIA #FLEXIBLEWORK, OR BY MAIL.