Remote Working Laws in Ireland

The Irish Employment Equality Act 1998 gives employees the right to request flexible work arrangements, including the ability to work from home. This right is available to all employees who have been with their current employer for at least six months.

The Act defines “flexible work arrangements” as “arrangements which allow an employee to work in a different way or at a different time than is normally required, including arrangements relating to start and finish times, working hours, rest periods, work patterns, annual leave and breaks.”

The Act does not require employers to grant all requests for flexible work arrangements. However, employers must consider all requests in good faith and make every effort to accommodate them, unless there is a legitimate business reason not to do so.

Some examples of legitimate business reasons that an employer may have for refusing to accommodate a request for a flexible work arrangement include:

  • The employee’s job duties cannot be performed remotely.
  • The employee’s job requires the employee to be physically present at the workplace.
  • The employee’s job requires the employee to be available to work during certain hours that are not compatible with the employee’s requested work schedule.
  • The employee’s job requires the employee to have access to specialized equipment or software that is not available at the employee’s requested workplace.

If an employer refuses to accommodate an employee’s request for a flexible work arrangement, the employer must provide the employee with a written explanation of the reasons for the refusal. The employee can then challenge the employer’s decision through the Workplace Relations Commission.

Overall, the Irish Employment Equality Act gives employees a right to request flexible work arrangements, including the ability to work from home. However, employers are not required to grant all requests for flexible work arrangements. If an employer refuses to accommodate a request, the employer must provide the employee with a written explanation of the reasons for the refusal.

Teleworking, working from home, and remote working

Teleworking, working from home, and remote working are all terms that are used to describe work arrangements that allow employees to work from a location other than the employer’s premises. The Irish Employment Equality Act does not define these terms specifically. However, they are generally understood to mean the same thing.

The Irish government has been supportive of teleworking and remote working in recent years. In 2021, the government published a National Remote Work Strategy, which sets out a number of measures to support the growth of remote working in Ireland.

The government’s support for teleworking and remote working is likely to lead to an increase in the number of people working from home in Ireland in the coming years.

Recent Updates

The most significant recent update to the Irish Employment Equality Act is the introduction of a right to request remote working. This right came into effect on April 4, 2023.

Under the new law, all employees who have been with their current employer for at least six months have the right to request to work remotely. Employers must consider all requests in good faith and make every effort to accommodate them, unless there is a legitimate business reason not to do so.

The National Remote Work Strategy was published by the Irish government in January 2021. The strategy sets out a number of measures to support the growth of remote working in Ireland, including:

  • Providing financial support to businesses to help them adapt to remote working.
  • Raising awareness of the benefits of remote working for both employees and employers.
  • Making changes to legislation to support remote working, such as the introduction of a right to request remote working.

The strategy also includes a number of specific actions that the government will take to support remote working, such as:

  • Developing a national remote work hub to provide information and support to businesses and employees on remote working.
  • Investing in broadband infrastructure to improve internet access in rural areas.
  • Working with employers to develop best practices for remote working.

The government’s commitment to remote working is likely to lead to an increase in the number of people working from home in Ireland in the coming years.

The recent updates to the Irish Employment Equality Act and the National Remote Work Strategy have made it easier for employees to work from home in Ireland.

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