The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, last week published Ireland’s first National Remote Work Strategy to make remote working a permanent option for life after the pandemic.
The Strategy sets out plans to strengthen the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, to provide the infrastructure to work remotely, and sets out clear guidance on how people can be enabled to work remotely from the office.
Headline actions include:
• Legislate to provide employees the right to request remote working
• Introduce a legally admissible code of practice on the right to disconnect from work – covering phone calls, emails and switch-off time
• Invest in remote work hubs, ensuring they are in locations that suit commuters and are close to childcare facilities
• Explore the acceleration of the National Broadband Plan
• Review the treatment of remote working for the purposes of tax and expenditure in the next Budget
• Lead by example by mandating that home and remote working should be the norm for 20% of public sector employees
These actions are set to be completed over the course of 2021. An Implementation Group will be formed to monitor the progress of the actions with meetings being held every four months.
Speaking last week, Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said, "Working from home has become the norm for many in 2020. We want remote, blended and flexible working arrangements a much bigger part of life after Covid. We’ve seen that there can be huge benefits – more flexibility, less commuting, more time for family and friends. It’s better for the transport emissions, and for quality of life, but it has to be done right. Employment rights need to be updated, we need to give guidance, and in many cases, we need to provide actual physical working space."
He added, "It also requires a cultural shift in favour of facilitating it as an option. This Plan shows how we will bring all those parts together. I think it will make a real difference to people’s working lives."