Cabinet announced on Wednesday (9th November) that it has agreed to scrap the draft Right to Request Remote Working Bill and instead deliver the new workers’ rights in the Work-Life Balance Bill, which is currently making its way through the Oireachtas.
The ‘right to request’ legislation had previously been described as “fatally flawed” by Fórsa and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), and in need of major amendments. The new legislation has been developed as a result of extensive engagement between government departments, trade unions and employers.
ICTU general secretary Owen Reidy said integrating the two pieces of legislation will deliver workers a statutory right to request remote working before the end of this year, months ahead of the expected schedule.
Unions have been clear that full flexibility for all workers is necessary to close the emerging work-life balance privilege gap between workers who can work remotely and those in jobs requiring a physical presence.
He added: “Congress and our affiliate unions welcome the Government commitment, to be written into the Work-Life Balance Bill, to consider extending the right to request all types of flexible working arrangements to all workers, not just remote, after two years of the legislation coming into effect.”
“Unions have been clear that full flexibility for all workers is necessary to close the emerging work-life balance privilege gap between workers who can work remotely and those in jobs requiring a physical presence.
The new legislation illustrates the potential for problem-solving and innovation through the close collaboration of the social partners.
Mr. Reidy said: “I want to acknowledge the collaborative approach taken by the Tánaiste and his officials to resolve the flawed draft legislation and to deliver on his commitment to a new workers’ right to remote working.”
ICTU president and Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said the new legislation illustrated the potential for problem-solving and innovation through the close collaboration of the social partners: “This is a great example of effective tripartism to address a significant challenge for working people and employers.
“This is why we are advocating for a new social compact in response to the challenges ahead. Those challenges are significant, and are driven by inflation, international conflict and a changing climate. There are opportunities to prepare for a better, more secure future by working together through a new social compact,” he said.
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