Flexible work arrangements for federally regulated employees

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The Canada Labour Code (Code) provides rights and protections for employees working in federally regulated workplaces. These rights and protections help employees balance work and home life.

Note: for the purpose of this web page, reference to “employee(s)” also includes persons that are often referred to as “interns”. It excludes “student interns” who are undertaking internships to fulfill the requirements of their educational program.

What is a flexible work arrangement

Flexible work arrangements are changes to an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. This allows them to achieve better work and home life balance.

The Code provides other rights and protections that help employees achieve work life balance, such as:

Flexible work arrangements cover:

Benefits of flexible work arrangements

Rights and protections in support of work life balance can benefit both employees and employers by:

Right to request a flexible work arrangement 

As an employee, you may exercise your right to request a flexible work arrangement under the Code. A flexible work arrangement can include changes that allows you more flexibility to balance work and home life.

However, the right to request flexible work arrangements under the Code only applies to:

As an employee that meets the above criteria, you can make a written request for flexible work arrangements.

Making a flexible work arrangement request

When making a request for a flexible work arrangement, you must ensure that your request is dealt with in a certain way.

Before you make a request

You must have worked for the same employer for 6 continuous months to be protected when making a request. You must also ensure your request meets the criteria mentioned in the section right to request flexible work arrangements.

Submitting a request

You must submit your request to your employer in writing.

In writing, you must include:

Once you submit your request

Once you submit your written request, your employer has 30 days to respond and provide 1 of 4 possible responses in writing:

Federally regulated employers are required to consider employee’s requests for flexible work arrangements without consequence to the employee. Following your request, you are protected from reprisals (for example, termination, demotion).

If your employer denies your request

If your employer denies your request, they must provide justification for doing so in their response.

Employers may deny a request for one or more of the following reasons:

Protections against reprisals

An employer cannot reprimand you just because you made a written request for a flexible work arrangement. Protection from reprisal states that employers are prohibited from:

The Canada Industrial Relations Board handles all complaints related to protections from reprisals.

If you believe you have been, for example, dismissed, demoted, suspended, or disciplined for making a request, you may file a complaint to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).

Filing a labour standards complaint

As a federally regulated employee, you can file a labour standards complaint if:

To learn more about your labour rights and obligations please consult the Federal labour standards web page.

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