In a significant announcement on 9 November 2022 the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment outlined that the right to request remote working legislation is to be fast-tracked by way of integrating it into the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022. This 'Integrated Bill' is expected to be enacted by the end of this year.
This means that requests for flexible and/or remote working will be governed by the same piece of legislation. The announcement also outlines that there will be a new WRC Code of Practice providing guidance to employers and employees on their obligations regarding compliance.
- Under the Integrated Bill, remote working will be defined as one type of flexible working and the right to request it will be available to all employees
- The right to request other types of flexible working, for example reduced working hours or adjusted working patterns, will remain limited to relevant parents and carers
- There will be an obligation on the employer to consider business needs and the needs of the employee when considering a request to work remotely, with employees having a right to bring a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of a lack of compliance
- A review of the legislation will take place after two years and will look at whether a right to request flexible working should extend to all employees
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 is currently working its way through the early stages of the legislative process. Amendments will be published shortly to update the Bill in light of these announcements.