Minister Joe O’Brien Welcomes Right of Employees to Work from Home

30th March, 2023

The Green Party introduced two important measures to improve quality of life in Ireland this week. The first measure introduces statutory leave for victims of domestic abuse, and the second measure bolsters the rights of workers to work from home. The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 has been brought to completion in the Dáil.

Welcoming the measures, Joe O’Brien TD said:

I am really pleased with these measures that have been introduced and the positive impact it will have for the people of Fingal, which is home to many commuters.

The domestic abuse measures are very important and will help people who have suffered domestic abuse and Ireland is one of the first EU countries to introduce this type of legislation.

“In terms of working from home, the Fingal area has one of the youngest populations according to the census and this will create a better work-life balance for families in the area. It has a positive impact on local economies as more people are around to pay for local goods and services.

“There is also an environmental benefit, too as less people will have to make journeys to Dublin, Drogheda and Dundalk meaning less cars will be on the road.

“My Department has been at the forefront of promoting working from home by creating a number of initiatives like the hubs network, the use of technology to make booking desk space easier, a national awareness campaign and increased funding.”

This Bill is part of an EU work- life balance directive and includes the Right to Request Remote Work, which will ensure that all workers have the legal right to request remote working from their employers. This will allow for a streamlined process where workers are requesting flexible or remote working and will help avoid inconsistencies and confusion. This will include the development of a new code of practice from the Workplace Relations Commission which takes into account both the needs of the employer and the employee when requesting remote work.

Also part of the introduced legislation is the provision for people to bring family members and others in their care for medical treatment and breastfeeding breaks to be extended to two years and instead of 26 weeks.

Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, welcomed the Bill reaching the final stage in the Dáil;

I am delighted to see this piece of critical legislation pass through the Dáil today. Once enacted, Ireland will become one of the first European countries to introduce a statutory entitlement to paid leave for victims of domestic violence. In addition to the work of my Green colleagues in the Seanad, this represents vital protection for those who are victims or domestic abuse and coercive control.

“The Work Life Balance Bill, the Gender Pay Gap Act, alongside the extension of paid parent’s leave and our continued investment in childcare show that we are focused on putting the people of Ireland at the centre of our policies.”

The Bill will now be passed through to President Michael D. Higgins to be signed into legislation in the coming weeks.