Small businesses are concerned about moves to increase flexibility provisions in the Fair Work Act, but some experts say the changes do not go anywhere near far enough.
The right to ask for flexible hours or other working arrangements currently only applies to some parents as one of the Federal Government's 10 national employment standards.
Now the Government is planning to specifically include that right in the Fair Work Act and significantly broaden its scope.
It wants all workers who have care responsibilities, those over 55, workers with a disability, or anyone who is experiencing domestic violence to also be able to ask for more flexibility from their employers.
Unions and the Greens also want those workers to be able to appeal if their request is knocked back, and on that count they have some support.
"Laws need to be enforced if they are to be effective," argued Professor Barbara Pocock, the director of the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia.
She says it is important to increase the eligibility and to give employers more information about when it is and is not reasonable to say no, but that alone is not enough.
"Why would we expect a law about care to have no effective enforcement, unlike getting underpaid? You can go to the Fair Work Act; you could follow that up; you can get some redress," she said.
"These flexibility rights are critically important to a lot of workers now, and they need to have the same first class enforcement machinery as any other aspect of labour law."
The Government is publicly targeting the protections at working women, but Professor Pocock says male employees should not be forgotten.
"The research shows that it is men, and men and women in male dominated workplaces, who are more likely to want flexibility but not feel confident about asking, not get what they need," she explained.
"We need active fathers and male carers just as much as we need women in the labour market and women getting flexibility they need."
After a difficult start to the year, the Government is hoping that switching the focus to the workplace will put the Opposition under some pressure.
So far the Coalition has responded cautiously, saying it supports added flexibility but needs to see much more detail.
The Government's motivation is clear to Peter Strong from the Council of Small Business.
"I think the Government is looking to wedge the Opposition around workplace relations, and I'll leave the politicians to do that," he said.
The council is finalising its election wish list this week, with its own industrial award the top priority.
"At the moment the awards are based around the type of industry you're in," he said.
"What we're saying is this particular award would be based on the size of the business. So if you've got five employees, you need a very simple award that everybody can look at and understand.
"And in country towns in particular it's so important because all the - most of the - businesses in a country town are small so people would know that the wage rate is the same no matter where you go and that way the employers can compete for the best workers."
The Government is also expected to give more protection to workers subject to roster and shift changes at very late notice, but has provided little detail on that plan.
Peter Strong says on all counts small businesses already give their employees flexibility and they do not need further regulation.