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Remote working law to require 'good' reason for employer to refuse it

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said an employee of six months standing will be able to apply for remote working, under a heads of bill passed by Cabinet today.

The employer must reply to the request within 12 weeks.

If the employer is refusing a request under 13 listed conditions, it must be for a specified and what he termed "good" reason.

The Tánaiste said any refusal by an employer to facilitate an employee can be appealed to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

He said he wants the legislation published by Easter, and passed the Oireachtas by the summer recess.

Mr Varadkar said any WRC decision is expected to be binding but there is a possibility of going to the Labour Court.

He added that compensation could apply to an employee, in the case of an employer being ruled against.

The Tánaiste said: "Up until now, remote and home working has been imposed on a lot of people due to the 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. So long as the business get done and services are provided, employers should facilitate it.

"I know throughout the pandemic, many employers have gone to great lengths to give their employees as much flexibility around where they work as possible. We want this to continue.

"The world of work has changed and I know many would like to retain some amount of remote working once Covid is behind us."

Mr Varadkar said the new law "will give every employee the right to request remote working from their employer.

"Employers will be required to provide reasonable grounds for refusing to facilitate an employees' request. These grounds are set out in the legislation and we will develop

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