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Ireland: employers can only decline remote working requests on business grounds
Planet Labor, 26 January 2022, n°12872 - www.planetlabor.com

On 25 January, the Irish government unveiled draft legislation giving employees with at least six months’ employment history the opportunity to request permission for remote working from their employers. Employers will have 12 weeks to respond to the request and will only be able to oppose it on business grounds, 13 of which are laid down by the executive, while noting these do not comprise an exhaustive list. Among them are, the nature of the work not allowing for it to be done remotely, the employer having concerns over protecting business confidentiality and data, and concerns over the commute between the employer’s site and the remote working location. The ‘Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2021’ also provides for employees to apply to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) if the request for work flexibility is refused. Lastly, the text includes the requirement that employers have a formal written remote working policy. “I want workers to be able to work from home or remotely or hybrid if they want to. So long as the business get done and services are provided, employers should facilitate it. (remote working),” said Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD. The Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2021 will be the first piece of Irish legislation to provide a legal framework for flexible working. The government hopes to publish it by Easter and have it approved by Parliament (Oireachtas) before the summer recess.