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new laws Government working on plan to give workers legal right to ask employers if they can work from home


eo varadkar

eo varadkar

eo varadkar

Workers will have a legal right to ask to work from home under plans being developed by the Government.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government was examining a number of ideas to encourage remote working.

One of the key elements of the plan is to give people the right to ask their employers to allow them to work from home.

“I know when we were developing our strategy for remote working we were thinking, how can we encourage people to do this,” Mr Varadkar said. “In some ways, now the question is how do we encourage people to go back to the office when that’s possible again,” he added.

He said a public consultation on remote working showed people wanted a blend between working from home and the office.

“There will be some who will want to be in the office full-time and some who want to be at home full-time, but the vast majority want blended working so it might be some days in the office, some days at home and some days working from a remote hub,” he said.

“We are working out the architecture we need to put in around that. The kind of things we are considering is giving people the legal right to request home working or remote working. It doesn’t mean they get it, but the right to request it,” he added.

Mr Varadkar also said the Government was working on ‘right to disconnect’ legislation.

“I don’t think anyone wants to turn their home into their full-time work place so that’s an issue too,” he said.

Earlier this week, Germany announced it would be introduce regulations on working from home to give employees more rights. ‘Right to disconnect’ laws have already being enacted in France and Italy.

The laws give employees the right not to respond to electronic work-related communications outside certain office hours.

Separately, the Government will next week sign off the heads of bill for a new regime of graduated fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations. The Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána have resisted the introduction of new fines or enforcement powers to clamp down on people who break coronavirus rules.

However, the Department of Health and Taoiseach Micheál Martin has insisted on new penalties.

New fines are expected to be imposed on people who leave their county while it is under lockdown.

There will also be a fine for those who refuse to wear a mask on public transport or while shopping.

There are no new fines planned for house parties or large public gathering that are outside the rules.

Once agreed by Cabinet, the new fines will be voted on in the Dáil and the Seanad before they are enacted into law.

Irish Independent