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Right to Request Remote Working to be Integrated with Work Life Balance Bill

The Government announced yesterday that the new law aimed at giving Employees the right to request remote work is to be included in the Work Life Balance Bill and that this is the most efficient and practical way to introduce the right to request remote work to all workers. It is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

It means that Employers and Employees will now be making and considering requests for remote working under one piece of legislation and one Code of Practice – which is to be developed by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Initially, the draft Right to Request Remote Working Bill included 13 specific grounds under which Employers could refuse an Employee’s request - however, it was announced last month that this was under review. Under the integrated Bill, the grounds for refusal will be replaced by an obligation on the Employer to consider both their needs and the needs of Employees when assessing a request. Employers will also be required to have regard to the Code of Practice when considering requests. The Code of Practice will be established on a statutory footing and is expected to include guidance to Employers and Employees on their obligations regarding compliance.

An Employee can take a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission where an Employer hasn’t complied with the Code of Practice or the other requirements of the Bill. The Government says this represents an enhanced right to complaint, when compared with the original Right to Request Remote Working Bill.

Under the integrated Bill, Remote Working will be defined as one type of flexible working and all Employees will have a right to request remote working. The right to request any other type of flexible working, such as reduced hours, will remain limited to Parents and Carers, as defined in the Bill.

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