Remote work requests to become employee right before end of 2021

The Irish Government recently launched ‘Making Remote Work’ the country’s new National Remote Work Strategy.

The aim of the strategy is to make remote working a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economic, social, and environmental benefits.

How will this impact employers?

Employers throughout Ireland will be contemplating the impact an employee right to request remote working could have on their business.

The legislation for this new employee right is scheduled to be in effect by the end of September. Although it will give employees the right to request remote working arrangements, it’s not an absolute right. That means employers can refuse a request once they have a justifiable reason for doing so.

However, dissatisfied employees, on the back of a refusal, will have the right to bring a case to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The WRC is also developing a Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect that will be admissible in disputes and adjudications.

How will it affect work post-COVID-19?

This announcement is an indicator of how the Government is approaching work post-COVID-19.

The strategy will make remote, blended, and flexible working arrangements a normal part of our working lives, a change employers should begin to prepare for.

What challenges does remote working pose?

The pandemic has, out of necessity, given employers the opportunity to trial remote working. Many will have noticed the challenges of managing teams remotely and the added costs of upgrading IT systems and providing appropriate workstations.

In 2021, employers are hoping to return to business as usual, or business pre-pandemic. This new right introduces an extra layer of remote work compliance at a time when employers are already under severe pressure.

If the expertise to manage the challenges of permanent remote working doesn’t exist within the business, external assistance will be needed.

Do you have questions about remote work requests?

If you have questions about remote work requests, speak to an expert now on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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Nora Cashe

Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

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With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

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David Begg

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David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.