The New South Wales Carers' Responsibilities Act

The New South Wales Carers' Responsibilities Act ("CRA") protects employees from discrimination based on their responsibilities to care for a child or immediate family member and provides access to flexible work arrangements.

A person qualifies as having carer responsibilities if he/she has "responsibilities to care for or support" any of the following persons in need of care or support: children; parents and grandparents; siblings; spouses/partners.

Under the CRA, employees have the right to request accommodations for their carer responsibilities, and employers have an affirmative obligation to grant reasonable accommodations that do not impose an unjustifiable hardship.

Unlawful discrimination based on carer responsibilities includes less favorable treatment (disparate treatment) or required compliance with a work requirement with which an employee cannot comply because of his/her responsibilities as a carer (indirect discrimination). The prohibition on indirect discrimination reaches facially neutral work requirements or practices – e.g., a requirement that all employees attend 8:00 a.m. meetings, work full-time, work from the same office as their supervisor, or attend team strategy dinners. These types of requirements are unlawful if they prove more difficult for persons with carer responsibilities and are "not reasonable having regard to the circumstances of the case." The Tribunal has found that, to be "reasonable," a work requirement must fall somewhere between mere convenience and absolute necessity to the proper conduct of a business.

The CRA applies to employers with 5 or more employees and exempts domestic employment.

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