Thursday, 18 November 2021

Questions (135)

Mairéad Farrell

Question:

135. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when he will be legislating for blended and flexible working arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56626/21]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

The right to request remote work is part of the Government vision to make remote working a permanent feature of Ireland’s workforce in a way that can benefit all – economically, socially and environmentally. The commitment to introduce legislation to underpin employees' right to request remote work was made in the national Remote Work Strategy published last January.

I carried out a public consultation in April and there was significant engagement. Informed by the public consultation, which included submissions from both employer and trade union representative groups and also a review of international best practice, the drafting of the General Scheme of the Bill is at an advanced stage. I will be seeking Cabinet approval for the drafting of Heads of a Bill in December and the Bill will be progressed through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible thereafter. The intention is to introduce a mechanism for employees to request remote working that is fair but does not place an undue burden on employers.

In addition, Directive 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers contains provisions in relation to flexible working arrangements. As the right to request flexible working arrangements under the Directive extends only to parents and those with caring responsibilities, the required amendments will relate to the Parental Leave Act 1998 and the Carer’s Leave Act 2001 which are not under my policy remit. Responsibility for transposition of the Directive rests with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman TD.