Right to Request Remote Working Bill – Considerations for Employers

Shannon Chamber HR is a dedicated HR and Employment Law Support Service for members of Shannon Chamber provided in partnership with Adare Human Resource Management, experts in Employment Law, Industrial Relations, Human Resources and Health & Safety at preferential rates.

The Government announced this week that the Cabinet has agreed the heads of bill for the new remote working legislation (Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2021) which will, for the first time, provide a legal framework around which requesting, approving or refusing a request for remote work can be based.

Any Employee with six months employment can submit a remote working request.

Once a request has been submitted, an Employer must respond with its decision within 12 weeks. As part of today’s announcement, a full list of 13 reasons for declining a request has been published (see below).

It was also announced that any refusal by an Employer to an Employee request can be appealed to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). It is expected that any WRC decision is binding but it can be further referred to the Labour Court. Compensation could apply to an employee, in the case of an employer being ruled against.

An Employer can decline a request for remote working under the following conditions:


  1. The nature of the work not allowing for the work to be done remotely
  2. Cannot organise work among existing staff
  3. Potential impact on quality
  4. Potential negative impact on performance
  5. Planned structural changes
  6. Burden of additional costs, considering the financial and other costs entailed and the financial resources of the employer’s business
  7. Concerns re the protection of business confidentiality or intellectual property rights
  8. Concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspaces on health and safety grounds
  9. Concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspaces on data protection grounds
  10. Concerns re the internet connectivity of proposed remote working location
  11. Inordinate distance between the proposed location and on-site location
  12. If the proposed remote working arrangement conflicts with the provisions of an applicable collective agreement
  13. On-going or recently concluded formal disciplinary processes


What does this mean for Employers? Given the Government’s commitment to a remote working strategy, today’s announcement should not be a surprise, and it provides some much-needed clarity for Employers. The onus is now on Employers to draft and publish their Remote Working Policies and assess the business needs in line with potential remote working requests. Our advice to Employers is take a considered approach to remote working.

The most recent HR Barometer Report (November 2021) from Adare Human Resource Management highlighted “Recruitment & Talent Acquisition” and “Retention” as the Top 2 HR priorities for 2022 and an expected average Employee Turnover of 10% this year, presenting significant challenges for HR.  A recent survey from the Central Statistics Office[1] reveals that 90% of those aged between 35 and 44 years who could work remotely would like to do so when Covid-19 pandemic restrictions end which indicates that Employers may expect to receive a number of remote working requests.  The survey also highlights that 58% of those not in employment would consider taking a job if it could be done remotely.

The introduction of remote or hybrid working presents employers with an opportunity to potentially address employee turnover and resourcing issues. In fact, our HR Barometer Report (March 2021) identified that implementing “Flexible Working Arrangements” was the top initiative introduced by Organisations to improve retention.

If your Organisation is considering Remote Working and requires guidance and support to develop appropriate policies and procedures, contact Shannon Chamber HR.

Why Shannon Chamber HR?

  • Access to solutions-focused advice and support on HR and Employment Law queries for your Organisation provided by the experienced expert-led team at Adare Human Resource Management, giving you peace of mind that you can effectively manage any employment or HR issues that may arise. For information on the full range of services and supports provided, click here.

For further information on the HR and Employment Law support services provided, to arrange a meeting or to receive a quote, contact the team at Shannon Chamber – admin@shannonchamber.ie / 061 475 854.

[1] Central Statistics Office (CSO), Pulse Survey Nov 2021 – “Our lives online”. https://www.cso.ie/en/csolatestnews/presspages/2021/pulsesurveynovember2021-ourlivesonlinesnapshotofresults/