Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (573)

Maurice Quinlivan


573. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department and the officers and agencies under her remit encourage remote working; the number of persons in her Department and the offices and agencies under her remit that work remotely; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19140/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department including its Offices has 5 staff engaged in formal remote working arrangements at work patterns of between 1 and 4 days per week. In addition, my Department’s ICT Unit provides remote working ICT facilities to any staff whose role requires them to work away from their office on a regular basis. Currently, 230 staff in the Department and its Offices are assigned laptops or tablets for use whenever they require to work away from the office. In addition, a pool of loan laptops or tablets is available to other staff to work remotely where business needs allow.

My Department's Agencies' remote working arrangements are outlined below.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)

At present the CCPC has one DBEI assignee working remotely on a full-time basis and one CCPC employee working remotely 1 to 2 days per week. All other requests for remote working are intermittent and considered on a case by case basis, whilst ensuring it suits the business needs of the organisation.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland has an e-working policy that supports and encourages remote working (e-working) among its employees. Applications are invited from staff once a year and arrangements are put in place to facilitate e-working, typically one day per week for a 12 month period.

All staff who made applications under Enterprise Ireland’s e-working policy in the current year were approved. 33 staff from various sections across the organisation are currently availing of e-working. In addition, a number of staff work remotely on an ad-hoc basis and the organisation’s IT infrastructure supports and enables the operation of this type of remote working.

Health and Safety Authority (HSA)

The HSA has in place a Voluntary Remote Access (VRA) scheme which allows, on an agreed basis, a HSA staff member to carry out administrative functions from their home or other location using their HSA issued laptop. Administrative staff can work a maximum of 2 days/20% of the week out of the office if approved by their line manager. The HSA’s field inspectors spend up to 90% of their time out of the office remote working or inspecting workplaces. Most of their administrative and data entry work is carried out from home with attendance in the office usually only required once a week.

121 field staff (HSA Inspectors and Irish National Accreditation Board Officers) and 24 office staff (which includes the senior management team) are approved for use of VRA.

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA)

All IAASA staff are provided with laptop devices which facilitate remote working. Audit Inspection staff spend the majority of their time in Public-Interest Entity audit firms. All other staff are primarily office-based. IAASA allows flexibility to work remotely, but does not require remote working.

IDA Ireland

IDA is currently formulating a policy on home working/remote working to coincide with its relocation to a new Global HQ in September 2019. No formal remote working policy is currently in place.

National Standards Authority of Ireland

In NSAI e-working is an approved arrangement by which employees work part of the week at home using approved internet and telecoms. E-working is limited to a maximum of 2 days per week and must be combined with core office-based hours/days each week. The number of people in NSAI currently availing of a formal e-working arrangement is 22.

Personal injuries Assessment Board

PIAB currently do not have a policy on remote working, but intend setting up a focus group to review this area in the near future.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

SFI currently offers remote working where, subject to certain conditions, employees may work from home for up to 2 days per month. 9 employees are currently availing of the working from home option.