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Flexible Working

Flexible and Remote Working;

Whether you have felt it has been a long 18 months or a short 18 months no-one can argue an unprecedented amount of change has occurred during that time. 2022looks set to continue the theme of change and adapt.

As employers and employees alike await the finer details of the right to request remote working let’s have a quick look at what we know right now:

Is there a right to work remotely in Ireland?

No, unless it already forms part of an employee’s contract of employment or is subsequently agreed to by their employer, employees cannot force their employer to let them work remotely.

Is this set to change?

As part of it’s National Remote Work Strategy, the government intends to introduce legislation at the end of this year, early next year that will create a legal framework for employees to request remote working from their employers.

Is this a right to work remotely?

No. It is only a right to “request” remote working. What we do not yet know is what criteria (if any) will be set for the refusing or granting of these requests.

What will change?

While we don’t know the details yet it is believed the new legislation will follow a similar approach to that of the UK i.e. flexible working requests can only be refused for a limited number of defined reasons, including cost, an inability to re-organise work or recruit additional staff, detrimental impact on quality or performance, planned structural changes and/or an insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.

Will the legislation extend to other forms of flexible working?

The focus for the Remote Work Strategy appears as though for now only legislation relating to requesting remote work is what will be passed.

However, the EU’s Work-life Balance Directive, (which is limited to working parents and carers) requires Ireland to implement a supporting framework by no later than August 2022. This Directive requires members states to ensure that certain workers have the right to request “flexible working arrangements” which are defined to include not only remote working, but also working schedules and working hours.

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