Unions and employers to give their views on remote working
Groups representing trade unions and employers will address the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment on new remote working legislation.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions and business group Ibec will appear before the committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment to give their views on the Right to Request Remote Working Bill.
Details of the proposed new law were announced in January by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.
The legislation is designed to give employees the right to request remote working and will require employers to provide reasonable grounds for refusing requests.
At today’s committee hearing, ICTU is expected to tell TDs and Senators that the proposed legislation is stacked in favour of the employer and fatally flawed in key parts.
The group will argue that the grounds for refusal and the grounds for appeal significantly impair the usefulness and effectiveness of the scheme.
ICTU will say that, in effect, the proposed legislation will only allow for a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission on procedural grounds.
“ICTU and its affiliates are strongly of the view that an appeal to the WRC taking issue with the substantive decision of the employer must be provided. Without this, the proposed legislation is utterly pointless,” according to the ICTU submission to the committee.
Ibec is expected to tell the committee that while it is generally supportive of the Government’s remote working strategy, it has concerns about the need to enact legislation and the timing of the proposed scheme.
“Government must consider these legislative proposals in a way that properly takes account of the cumulative cost and burden of administration for employers,” according to Ibec’s submission to the committee.
The business group is also expected to argue that many employers are already offering remote or hybrid working and that it is increasingly becoming a competitive factor when it comes to attracting workers.
“We believe that legislating for a statutory right to request remote work at this stage is premature and may stymie the ability for employers and employees to manage remote working in a creative and flexible way,” according to Ibec.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Committee chair Maurice Quinlivan said members are welcoming the opportunity to hear from representatives from ICTU and Ibec.
“Remote and hybrid working have become the new normal for employees and employers so it is crucial that there is legislative access to flexible working arrangements while striking a balance between the rights of both parties,” Mr Quinlivan said.