As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation I understand the importance of promoting a good work-life balance for employees. This is addressed under Pillar 4 of the Government's Future Jobs Ireland strategy. Pillar 4 is focussed on increasing participation in the labour force as this will lead to the more equitable, balanced and sustainable development of Ireland’s workforce.
Pillar 4 of Future Jobs Ireland outlines a number of key ambitions and deliverables to help to increase participation in the labour force. A number of these ambitions are centred on flexible working solutions which can offer benefits for employers, employees and wider society in general. Flexible working encompasses a wide range of practices including part-time, compressed hours, job sharing, home-working and remote working. Such solutions allow for tangible benefits for employees including improving their work-life balance. It also provides solutions for those who would otherwise take unpaid parental leave but cannot afford to do so.
There are a number of key deliverables under Pillar 4 with the objective of fostering participation in the labour force through flexible working solutions. These include deliverables such as holding a national consultation on flexible working options, the development of guidance for employers on family-friendly working options, and the extension of unpaid Parental Leave.
A further deliverable under this Pillar is the completion of research on remote working. My Department is currently leading on this research which focusses on understanding the prevalence and types of remote working arrangements within the Irish workforce and the attitudes towards such arrangements. The research will identify the influencing factors for both employers and employees partaking in remote working. The research will also include an international policy review which will consider related policies abroad, such as the ‘right to disconnect’ in France, in order to understand the impacts of this on remote working.
This research will include desk research, a national employee survey, and key stakeholder engagement. In order to aid this engagement, I held a Remote Working Stakeholder Forum in Cavan Digital Hub on July 18th. The results arising from this event will be included in the final research.
The research will be completed in Q4 of this year and will be published shortly thereafter.