Tuesday, May 28, 2024

First remote working complaints received by WRC

Must read

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has received five complaints relating to remote/flexible working since the introduction of the ‘Right to Request Remote/Flexible Work’ just under two months ago.

On 7 March, the Government brought the rights into operation and published a code of practice which was drawn up by the WRC.

Employers and employees are obliged to have regard to the code when considering applications for remote working.

Employers must also have regard to the code if terminating a flexible working arrangement.

Workers are able to refer a dispute to the WRC if an employer fails to fulfil their obligations, and the code of practice will be admissible in evidence in proceedings before a court, the Labour Court or the WRC.

Figures released to RTÉ News by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment show that up to 23 April, five people had made complaints to the WRC about remote or flexible working.

“The complaints will be addressed by the adjudication officer and, as with all cases, will be published on the WRC website,” a department spokesperson said.

The code of practice was developed by the WRC, in consultation with trade unions and employer representative bodies.

It covers how requests should be made and outlines the timeframes and notice periods involved, as well as record keeping requirements.

The code states that an employer who receives a request for remote working must consider the request, having regard to needs of the business and the needs of their employee.

“An employer should consider a request for remote work in an objective, fair and reasonable manner,” according to the code.

The rights to request remote and flexible working are part of the Work Life Balance Act which was enacted in April 2023.

The commencement of the right to flexible working for parents and carers marked the final step in the transposition of the EU Work Life Balance Directive.

In November 2023, the European Commission warned that Ireland was facing a fine for failing to fully transpose the directive.

Human Resource company Peninsula Ireland said the receipt of the first remote working complaints by the WRC highlights how important it is for businesses to stay compliant with the new legislation

“Employers need to keep in mind that they have legal requirements around the right for employees to request flexible and remote working arrangements,” said Moira Grassick, COO at Peninsula Ireland.

“This doesn’t mean that employers are obliged to accept the requests. But they must keep in mind their requirements when responding, such as notice periods, response time, record keeping, and what must be included in a response to request, in order to remain compliant.”

“Preparation and knowledge are key to incorporating this new legislative reality into business practices and employee communication,” Ms Grassick said.

Latest article