Do I have to agree to a request from a full-time employee to return from parental leave part-time?


The short answer is no, not necessarily.  According to the Fair Work Act, employees are entitled to return to their pre-parental leave position after a period of parental leave. So if that position was full-time, they are entitled to return to the full-time position, not a part-time version of that position.

Employers need to be mindful, however, of their obligation to respond to a request for a flexible working arrangement under the Fair Work Act.  Employers also need to be aware of their obligation to reasonably accommodate the needs of parents and carers under equal opportunity legislation.  If an employer unreasonably refuses the request to work part-time, they may be exposed to a discrimination complaint.

Response courtesy of our legal partner, Justitia Law Firm.