The Right to Request Remote Working

Since 2020,  traditional workforce models have shifted to include hybrid and remote working. Effective from the 7th of March 2024, all employees in Ireland have a new legal right which entitles them to request remote working from their employer.

 

What is Remote Working?

Remote working is an agreement between an employer and their employee, whereby instead of going to the employer’s location, the employee performs parts or all of their work from another location, typically their home. The employee continues to fulfill the same duties and work hours as if they were physically attending the employers place of business. In contrast, hybrid work  provides employees with the flexibility to choose their own work schedules but still enjoy in-person interactions. For example attending the workplace some days and working from home on other days.

 

Who has the Right to Request Remote Working?

All employees have the right to make this request in Ireland. Employees may request remote working from the day they start a new job, but must have 6 months of continuous service before remote working can commence.

If an employee leaves their job and then returns to the same employer within 6 months, the time spent between roles does not count towards the 6 months of continuous service.

 

Code of Practice on Remote Working

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023, sets out the right to request remote working in Part 3 of the act.

Employers and employees can also access further information in the Workplace Relations Commission’s (WRC) Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Right to Request Flexible Working and Right to Request Remote Working.

The WRC code of practice includes practical supports for employers, such as templates to help create relevant policies and request forms.

 

Making a Request for Remote Working:

When an employee requests remote working, they should:

  • Make the request as soon as is reasonable practical, and at least 8 weeks ahead of the proposed start date. 
  • Submit it in the form of a written request or online application form.
  • Share specific details of the proposed arrangement including how many days per week and which days you are requesting.
  • Detail the  reasons for you requesting remote work.
  • State the proposed start date and duration for the arrangement.
  • Specify the proposed remote work location e.g. at home,  co-working hubs.
  • Explain the suitability of the proposed location, for example access to broadband/other tools, a workstation that is configured according to health & safety guidelines. (Page 16 of the WRC code of practice details relevant information to include).

 

What Employers Should Consider:

When evaluating your request, the employer should consider:

  • The needs of the business,
  • The needs of the employee and their reasons for this request,
  • The WRC Code of Practice.

This may also include considering your suitability and the suitability of the role for remote working. Relevant considerations may include:

  • Whether the duties of the role can be performed remotely.
  • If on-site attendance is required for certain duties or tasks.
  • If the technology exists internally to facilitate remote work.
  • Whether there are any health & safety considerations.

 

Responding to Requests for Remote Working:

Employers must respond to requests for remote working as soon as possible. At latest, their decision must be delivered to you within 4 weeks of them receiving your request.

The employer may request more time to consider the request and provide a decision to you.  In this case, they must state how much additional time is required, up to a maximum limit of 8 weeks.

 

Request Outcomes

If your request for remote working is refused, the employer must state in writing that it has been rejected and the reasons for this decision.

If your request is approved by your employer, then they will share an agreement which is to be signed by both the employer and the employee. This document should include:

  • The details of the arrangement
  • The start date and anticipated duration

 

In conclusion, the right to request remote working provides employees with greater work/life balance and employers with more flexible work models which in turn help to attract and retain staff. Below are some additional resources designed to help employers and employees as they navigate this process.

 

Additional Information:

 

For more information on this policy please contact us on 045 881 888 or hello@clark.ie.
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