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Flexi-time Labour announce 'right to flexible work' legislation plans at Jim Larkin commemoration

The proposed legislation will fight to provide workers with "a right to flexible work"

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Labour’s Marie Sherlock

Labour’s Marie Sherlock

Labour’s Marie Sherlock

The Labour Party has announced its plans to publish proposals on flexible working this week.

The proposed legislation, which will fight to provide workers with “a right to flexible work,” was announced at a commemoration marking the 75th anniversary of the death of trade union leader Jim Larkin in Glasnevin Cemetery on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking at the event, Labour Party spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Senator Marie Sherlock said: “This week, the Labour Party will be unveiling our proposals for a right to flexible work.

“A right that is based on the notion that we can’t just ignore the past two years. That account must be taken of the work arrangements that have successfully evolved.

“A right that recognises that it must be possible to get a work life balance. A right which will put what is best for workers, our communities and our planet into the centre of the debate about our workplaces and our economy in post-pandemic Ireland.”

Sherlock criticised the Government proposals on “a right to request flexible work” published last week and drew attention to its lack of concern for workers.

She said: “It is staring an opportunity in the face to breathe new life into our rural towns and villages, while freeing up space in our cities so young workers are no longer forced out of the communities they grew up in.

“It is failing to realise the potential to drive down our carbon emissions and do more to tackle the overarching crisis of our era - the ecological, biodiversity and climate crisis.

“It is ignoring the gains for women during this pandemic. The gains that saw the numbers of women in full-time work increase and not fall as some would have expected.”

Last week, the Government rejected calls to introduce a right to work from home, instead promising to legislate for a right for employees to request the option to work remotely.

The Government’s proposed bill would require employers to consider requests to work from home but they would still be able to reject them.

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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar argued that employers would be more likely to grant requests to work remotely out of fear of being brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) by employees.

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