Employers will have 13 grounds to refuse remote working requests

ireland
Employers Will Have 13 Grounds To Refuse Remote Working Requests Employers Will Have 13 Grounds To Refuse Remote Working Requests
Employers will have at least 13 grounds to refuse an employee's request to work remotely under draft legislation published on Tuesday.
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James Cox

Employers will have at least 13 grounds to refuse an employee's request to work remotely under draft legislation published on Tuesday.

If the decision is appealed by the worker, the employer will be required to justify it.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar unveiled plans to give workers the right to request remote working after draft legislation was approved by Cabinet.

Mr Varadkar said up until now remote working had mainly been a result of pandemic public health restrictions.

“Now that they have been lifted, I want it to be a choice. I want workers to be able to work from home or remotely or hybrid if they want to," he said.

Employers will have three months to respond to an employee's remote working request.

A declined request will require “reasonable business grounds for doing so”. These may include, but are not limited to, 13 different reasons under the legislation.

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The reasons are listed below:

1. If the nature of the work does not allow for it to be done remotely;

2. If the employer cannot reorganise work among existing staff;

3. Where there is a potential negative impact on work quality;

4. If there is a potential negative impact on performance;

5. In cases where the employer has planned structural changes;

6. When there is a burden from additional costs, taking into account the financial and other costs entailed and the scale and financial resources of the employer’s business;

7. Where there are concerns about the protection of business confidentiality or intellectual property;

8. In instances where there are concerns about the suitability of the proposed workspace on health and safety grounds;

9. If there are concerns about the suitability of the proposed workspace on data protection grounds;

10. When there are concerns over the internet connectivity of the proposed remote working location;

11. If there is an inordinate distance between the proposed remote location and on-site location;

12. If the proposed remote working arrangement conflicts with the provisions of an applicable collective agreement;

13. In cases where there is an ongoing or recently concluded formal disciplinary processes.

If rejected, an employee can appeal the decision through an internal appeals mechanism and then the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Mr Varadkar said: “It’ll have to be a specified reason and that reason we’ll have to stack up.”

He said it is his intention that any ruling by the WRC, whether the employee is successful or not, will be binding.

“It is simply not practical for some work to be done from home or remotely,” the Fine Gael leader added.

“Anyone who thinks that you can have some sort of absolute right to remote working is pulling your leg.

“People who are suggesting somehow that you can have an absolute right to remote working most likely live in a shoe box or something.

“How can you possibly build a house from your back office?” - Additional reporting from Press Association 

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