Fórsa welcomes Government’s remote working strategy

Ireland’s largest public service union, Fórsa, has this morning (Friday) given an initial welcome to headline measures set out in the Government’s Remote Working Strategy, published today. But it also called for engagement with unions on the detailed roll-out of the proposals.

The Government strategy includes a pledges to establish a legal right to request remote working, introduce a legally admissible code of practice on the right to disconnect, review the treatment of remote working for tax purposes, and make remote working the norm for 20% of public sector staff. It also says the Government will invest in remote work hubs and explore the acceleration of the National Broadband Plan.

Fórsa’s Head of Communications Bernard Harbor said the strategy, Making Remote Work, appeared to address a number of issues highlighted by the union in its submission to the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment.

We look forward to studying the report and its recommendations in detail. But, on the face of it, the headline proposals are welcome.

“Fórsa very much welcomes the pledge to establish legal rights to disconnect and to request remote working, which would bring Ireland closer to European best practice. But there needs to be engagement with trade unions and other stakeholders on the detail of these and other proposals to ensure that fair access to remote working and proper protections for all staff, regardless of where they work,” he said.

A Fórsa survey conducted last summer showed a strong appetite for a hybrid model which blends time worked remotely and in the workplace.

Mr Harbor said the experience of remote working during the Covid-19 emergency had demonstrated that many roles can be carried out remotely in ways that are productive, cost-effective and attractive to employers and their staff.

Workers value the flexibility that remote working can bring, while managers cite access to talent, improved productivity and cost savings as benefits.

“Enhanced remote working also has huge potential to boost climate action and regional development,” he said.

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