What’s going on:
Amid much excitement and expectation last year, plans for legislation allowing employees to request remote working were revealed, and last week the “Work Life Balance Bill” passed through both Houses of the Oireachtas in Ireland in relative silence.
Ibec, a prominent business group, contested the necessity of this legislation and said that many companies were already providing either remote or hybrid working, according to RTE.
When the President ratifies the new law, the next step will be for the Workplace Relations Commission to release a Code of Practice with advice for employers about how to deal with remote and flexible working requests adequately.
Why it matters:
Deirdre Malone, a Partner and Head of Employment Law at EY Law Ireland, said that she thinks the new law will profoundly revolutionize employee rights.
“It encompasses the right to request remote working or flexible working (for parents of young children and carers), as well as unpaid medical care leave, enhanced breastfeeding breaks and, the introduction of paid leave for domestic violence,” Malone said.
It will be important to employers that the new Code of Practice delivers clarity concerning employer requirements to conduct risk assessments in home-working environments, furnish offices with necessary equipment, observe working hours and rest/breaks, and tackle data security and cyber safety concerns.
How it’ll impact the future:
After a long and hard-fought campaign, legislation for remote and flexible working has been passed, but now stakeholders will come together to establish the laws that will govern this newfound and closely observed facet of Irish employment law.
Ireland’s new law protects the right to work remotely, which is a stark contrast from what is going on in the US, where employers are pushing workers back into the office or disallowing remote work.