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Workplace changes are right: Albanese

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CANBERRA, Feb 11 AAP

February 11 2013, 10:07AM

Federal cabinet minister Anthony Albanese says Labor's planned workplace relations changes must be right - because they have been criticised by both business and the Greens.

The federal government wants to push through a second tranche of changes to the Fair Work Act to extend the right to request greater work flexibility to more employees.

Business groups have complained it will create more red tape for employers while the Australian Greens say the move doesn't go far enough and all workers should have more flexibility.

"I reckon we might have got it right because we've got whingeing from the right and whingeing from the left," Mr Albanese told Sky News on Monday.

The changes were about creating a framework of co-operation beneficial to employers and employees, he said.

Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said Labor's plan for workplace flexibility was "all show and no substance".

"If the boss says no, there's nowhere to go," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

He wants to see measures to increase work-life balance that have "some teeth".

Employees deserved the right of a fair hearing from their employer if they needed time off to care for a relative and the ability to go to a "third umpire", Mr Bandt said.

Cabinet minister Craig Emerson says legislation will be introduced later in the week.

He says the bill is about ensuring that new parents returning to work do not feel anxious about asking for part-time employment.

"We don't want to see a situation where women feel intimidated if they were to have that conversation, that it may jeopardise their re-employment," Dr Emerson told reporters.

There would be no onus on employers to provide part-time work because some might be unable to do so.

"This is a flexible response to modern Australian families' needs," he said.