Government publishes General Scheme of Right to Request Remote Work Bill

February 01, 2022

The term remote work refers to the broad concept of an arrangement where work is fully or partly carried out at an alternative worksite other than the default place of work. The commitment to introduce legislation to underpin employees' right to request remote work was made in the national Remote Work Strategy published in January 2021. The policy objectives of the legislation are essentially to provide a legal framework around which requesting, approving or refusing a request for remote work can be based. It will also provide legal clarity to employers on their obligations for dealing with such requests.

An employee must have 26 weeks’ continuous service with his/her employer to be eligible to submit a request for remote working under the Bill. There are twelve grounds under which an employer may refuse the request to remote work, they are:

  1. the nature of the work not allowing for the work to be done remotely;
  2. cannot reorganise work among existing staff;
  3. potential negative impact on quality;
  4. potential negative impact on performance;
  5. planned structural changes;
  6. burden of additional costs, taking into account the financial and other costs entailed and the scale and financial resources of the employer’s business;
  7. concerns re the protection of business confidentiality or intellectual property;
  8. concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspace on health and safety grounds;
  9. concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspace on data protection grounds;
  10. concerns re the internet connectivity of the proposed remote working location;
  11. inordinate distance between the proposed remote location and on-site location;
  12. if the proposed remote working arrangement conflicts with the provisions of an applicable collective agreement; ongoing or recently concluded formal disciplinary processes

As the Bill is introduced and is going through the Oireachtas the SFA will be making a submission if asked for under pre legislative scrutiny and will keep members informed of the progress on this legislation.

The full General Scheme of the Bill can be found here