Workers set their sights on the right to stay at home


Employees are far more in favour of remote working than employers, according to the number of submissions in response to a Government consultation.

ánaiste Leo Varadkar is expected to publish views from members of the public and stakeholder groups on the right to request remote work next week — with a new law to follow.

Earlier this year Mr Varadkar published Ireland’s first National Remote Work Strategy to make remote and blended working a bigger part of life after the pandemic.

An important commitment in the strategy is to introduce a new law giving workers the right to request remote working — although employers have no statutory obligation to grant it.

All employees in Ireland can ask their employers for the right to work remotely but there is currently no legal framework around which a request can be made and how it should be dealt with by the

These issues will now be addressed through a new law that will set out clearly how these requests should be facilitated as far as possible.

“We have a real opportunity now to make remote and blended working a much bigger part of normal working life,” Mr Varadkar told the Sunday Independent.

“After the pandemic people should have a choice; so long as the work gets done and business and service needs are met. That’s the principle I want to apply.”

There are some two million PAYE workers in Ireland, many of whom are tied to their workplace even if it is a moving one — such as a freight truck or commuter bus.

But it is thought a maximum of up to one million workers could be covered by new arrangements.

“The intention is to introduce a mechanism for employees to request remote working that is fair to workers but does not place an undue burden on employers,” the Tánaiste said.

It is understood most submissions received came from individual workers, who will show overwhelming enthusiasm for better work-life balance and less time spent commuting.

A report of the main findings will be published summarising the key points of the views received.

The questions asked covered topics such as a timeframe for replying to requests to work remotely; the length of service, if any, an employee should have before being entitled to work remotely; and health and safety issues.

There are also questions around the equipment and materials required for remote working and how they would be provided.

The new law is also expected to address what would constitute reasonable grounds of refusal of a request to work remotely and how to then manage, monitor and police changes to any existing work arrangements agreed between employers and employees.


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