Minister Troy welcomes details of proposed legislation giving workers the Right to Request Remote Working

Published on: 27 January 2022

Minister of State in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Fianna Fáil TD for Longford/Westmeath, Robert Troy has welcomed the publishing of details of a new law which will give employees the right to request remote working, as part of Government plans to make better terms and conditions for workers a legacy of the pandemic.

Minister Troy commented, “This is a very welcome move and offers employees greater options and flexibility in order to facilitate a more modern approach to working. It is about giving workers choice and employers should also grasp this opportunity to engage with their employees to see what options work best for them.

“The world of work has changed greatly over the past two years and the way work is done in the future will continue to change. We need to make sure that we continue to offer a future-facing approach to change in the workplace.”

The Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2021 will, for the first time, provide a legal framework around which requesting, approving or refusing a request for remote work can be based.

All workplaces must have a written statement which sets out the company’s Remote Working Policy, specifying the manner in which remote working requests are managed and the conditions which will apply to remote working generally within the organisation.

Where the employer has diligently completed the assessment process and any appeal has been heard, the employee will have to wait a period of 12 months to submit another request, provided they are in the same role. If an employee moves to a new role within the company, they may submit a fresh request.

The new law provides for a time-limit for an employer to return a decision in relation to a request from an employee. The employer can set out their own specific time limit but it must not be more than 12 weeks.

An employee will be eligible to submit a request once they have worked for their employer for a period of six months. However, an employer is free to offer remote work from day one if desired.

There will be a right of appeal to the Workplace Relations Commission where an employer has failed to respond to a request or to provide any reasonable grounds for refusal of a request for remote working and protections for employees from penalisation for having exercised their entitlement to request remote working.

The General Scheme has been developed following consultation with employer groups, employee representative groups and the public.

The General Scheme and the Regulatory Impact Assessment are available at Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021