Ireland: New Statutory Right To Request Remote Work

The Irish Government brought the statutory right to request remote work for all employees into operation.

The right to request flexible working arrangements for parents and carers has also commenced.

A code of practice for employers and employers, drawn up by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), has been approved and published.

The workplace entitlements are part of the Work-Life Balance Act, which was enacted in April 2023.

Employers and employees are obliged to follow the code of practice when considering remote work applications.

Employers must also have regard to the code if terminating a flexible working arrangement.

Employees do not have a right under the new legislation to challenge the substantive refusal of a request. Rather, only the failure to follow the prescriptive process in considering such requests.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), or the Labour Court on appeal, may direct an employer to comply with the prescriptive process or award compensation.

In the case of flexible work requests, it should not exceed 20 weeks’ remuneration. In contrast, in the case of remote work requests, not exceeding 4 weeks’ remuneration.

The code of practice was developed by the WRC, in consultation with trade unions and employer representative bodies.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Simon Coveney, said the Government wants to facilitate remote work. He said the goal is to: “reduce our time commuting and to enable families to spend more time together.”

Under this Act alone, employees can now avail of breastfeeding breaks for two years. They can also have five days leave for medical care purposes, as well as five days domestic violence leave.

Employers should now review their FW and RW policies and ensure that systems are in place to deal with the new statutory requests.

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