An Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA) can be used to alter an existing award or enterprise bargaining agreement. The use of an IFA can be beneficial to both an employee and an employer, as it aims to balance the business’ needs with the individual’s personal circumstances. This article will outline the procedural process of getting an IFA in place.

Who can initiate the introduction of an Individual Flexibility Agreement?

Either the employee or employer can commence the process for considering an IFA in the workplace. The request does not have to be initiated formally in writing; discussions for an IFA can simply begin if one party approaches the other with details of the arrangement they would like to introduce.

What are the legal considerations that need to be made?

Two main points need to be addressed for an IFA to be valid. The first factor refers to the existing award or enterprise bargaining agreement that is currently in place. The award or enterprise bargaining agreement should include a flexibility clause, and this clause needs to address which terms and conditions can be varied. Only these clauses can be altered by the IFA.

The second consideration is an obligation upon the employer. The employer will need to ensure that an employee is “better off overall” under the new agreement. If you are an employer who is unsure if this arrangement will pass the test, a specialist employment lawyer can provide you with advice. Factors to consider in this test include a comparison of the financial benefits of the new and old arrangements. An employee’s personal circumstances and non-financial benefits can also be taken into consideration.

How is the Individual Flexibility Agreement formalised?

After all legal considerations and discussions have taken place, it is a good idea to get the IFA drafted by an employment lawyer. Effectively the IFA will be a combination of the award or enterprise bargaining agreement together with the new clauses. The IFA needs to be signed, and copies must be provided to both parties. An IFA does not need to be approved by the Fair Work Commission; it comes into force once an agreement has been made and signed. If an employee is found to be at a disadvantage as a result of the IFA, the employer may be liable to penalties and compensation may need to be paid to the employee.

Conclusion

Although an Individual Flexibility Agreement does not need to be approved by the Fair Work Commission, a specialist employment lawyer can help to ensure you have created an arrangement that is legally compliant. If you are a considering an IFA in your workplace, the specialist employment lawyers at LegalVision can assist in providing you with advice or drafting the agreement.

If you would like to arrange an obligation-free consultation, get in touch with LegalVision today on 1300 544 755. We provide all of our clients with upfront, fixed-fee quotes so that there is never any doubt as to what the legal bill will be.

Kristine Biason

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