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Ireland: a landmark national strategy to develop remote work that intends to fast track the employee’s right to request remote work and the right to disconnect
Planet Labor, 19 January 2021, n°12317 - www.planetlabor.com

On 15 January 2020, Ireland’s government published its first national remote work strategy (here), the goal of which is to ensure home and remote work becomes the norm after the pandemic ends. This strategy includes adopting legislation to provide employees the right to request remote work (Q3 2021) along with the introduction of a code of practice (Q1 2021) with Ministerial approval. Stemming from conclusions following a consultation launched during the summer of 2020 the government considered this initiative to offer the most balanced response. The strategy also includes a review of tax arrangements for employer and employee expenses incurred in relation to remote working. Currently, employees working from home can receive €3.20 per day from their employers to cover their expenses. As part of the 2022 budget, the Department of Finance will review potentially increasing this amount. However the strategy goes well beyond just aspects focusing on the employment relationship itself. It also includes actions to develop the necessary infrastructure (creation of a network of remote working in remote areas, development of high-speed broadband nationwide), to create and implement indicators & data to ensure the policy is fully informed and guided, and to mandate administrations and public institutions to move to 20% remote working before the end of 2021. The document also highlights an issue underpinning the success of this strategy, namely that of acquiring and promoting best practice and the skills needed to carry out remote work. The document refers to the need for public policies to take account of the skills requirements needed for the development of increased remote work.