The 'Win-Win' Workplace Law Helping Put Lives Back Together
In 1995, Army pilot Glenn Todhunter had been dating his girlfriend Michelle for a few months, when their lives were torn apart.
Glenn’s plane came crashing down on a training flight, and he lost both his legs.
Michelle became Glenn’s full-time carer, putting her study and work on hold as he learned how to walk again.
“It wasn’t just a quick six months, and Glenn’s all good,” she said.
“He wanted to go back to flying and it was going to take years to achieve.”
“It was pretty much the better part of a decade.”
Fast forward to 2019, and workers can now ask their employer to vary their hours, or to work from home if they’re a carer, they suffer from domestic violence, have a disability, care for young children, or if they’re over the age of 55.
Christie Toy from Shine Lawyers says not many people know about the law, but workers have every right to ask for the changes.
“Your boss can’t fire you because of that, they can’t sack you, they can’t demote you,” she said.
“They can’t otherwise change your employment conditions to your detriment.”
Glenn described it as a "win-win."
“Both for businesses to retain good people that are motivated and want to keep on working, as it is for the people themselves," he said.
As Glenn recovered, the couple married.
More than twenty years on, the Todhunters are still standing side by side, ready to take on anything.
Glenn returned to work, becoming the first double amputee pilot in the history of the Australian Defence Force.
He’s also head of Flight Training for the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
“The carers are often the unsung heroes and really, people don’t understand the pivotal role they play in the community and families,” Glenn said.