In December 2019, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation published Remote Work in Ireland, a report on the prevalence and types of remote working solutions in Ireland, the attitudes towards them and influencing factors for employees and employers when engaging with these solutions.
The Remote Work in Ireland report found a need for national guidance for employers seeking to engage with remote working solutions. Following its publication, DBEI committed to the production of this guidance.
Much has changed since the publication of the report. Amid the COVID-19 crisis those who could conceivably work from home have been encouraged to do so, resulting in an unprecedented instance of mass homeworking. In addition to the existing guidance in place, new guidance was been released from a number of sources to advise employers and employees on the practicalities of short-term homeworking.
DBEI has captured this information in the Guidance for Working Remotely during COVID-19.
What is Remote Working?
The Remote Work in Ireland report found that the term ‘remote work’ can refer to a wide range of different working arrangements. The definition used for this research, has been taken from the 2020 European Framework Agreement as a
‘form of organising and/or performing work, using information technology, in context of an employment contract/relationship, where work, which could also be performed at the employer’s premises, is carried out away from those premises on a regular basis’.
Remote working includes both working from home or working from another location that is not your office, for example:
- a hub
- an enterprise, innovation or community hub
- a co-working space
- working while travelling
- a mixture of locations, e.g. home/office, home/hub, office/hub
What is the Consultation About?
The Remote Work in Ireland report found that employers and employees needed more guidance in order to increase the uptake of remote working. In particular the report highlighted the areas of:
- health and safety
- employment rights and the right to disconnect
- data protection
In response to the unprecedented number of people working from home as a result of COVID-19, DBEI has published Guidance for Working Remotely during COVID-19 detailing where information can be found on each of these areas.
The Department now wants to build on this guidance by addressing key areas of concern for employers and employees when it comes to remote working.
Shannon Chamber, via Chambers Ireland, is preparing a response to this submission and seeks your feedback on areas such as:
- Is the current guidance suitable?
- Does the current guidance provide clarity?
- How could the current guidance be improved?
- Are there further areas on which employers need guidance?
- Are there further areas on which employees need guidance?
What will the Government do with your responses?
The information the Government receives will be used to shape public policy on remote working and to provide insights and feedback arising from the submissions to further refine Remote Working Guidance for employers and employees.