The Right to Request Flexible Working Set To Be In Place by Summer

Sarah Fagan, Managing Director, Adare Human Resource Management


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.

In late April, the Cabinet agreed to introduce Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman’s “Work-Life Balance Bill” that commits to introduce the elements of the EU Directive. The legislation is due before the Dáil in the coming weeks and it is expected to be in place ahead of the summer recess.

The proposed Bill entitles employees to five days of unpaid leave available for all family members to support those with medical needs. Carers or parents will also have the right to request flexible or compressed work hours. Under the Bill, there will be an entitlement for paid breastfeeding breaks as well as introducing paid leave for victims of domestic violence.

The introduction of flexible working arrangements is the result of the Government implementing the EU’s Work Life Balance Directive.

Work-Life Balance Directive

The Work-Life Balance Directive is an EU law which aims to make it easier for people working in the EU to balance paid work and private life, including caring responsibilities. The Directive was formally adopted by the European Parliament and by the Council of the European Union in June 2019 and member states have 3 years to transpose the Directive in their national law. 

The Work-Life Balance Directive introduces minimum standards for parental leave including paternity leave, carer’s leave, the right to flexible working arrangements for parents and carers, and safeguards against unfair dismissals. 

The Directive is designed to modernise existing work-life balance frameworks for parents and carers while also supporting a more equal sharing of parental leave.

While employees will have the right to request flexible work arrangements, employers will not be under an obligation to grant any such request.

What is meant by Flexible Working?

Flexible working is a term used to cover a broad range of working arrangements including Part-time working, Flexitime, Staggered hours and Hybrid working among others.

The proposed bill is not to be confused with the recent announcement that the Government has agreed the heads of bill for the Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2021:

Overview – Ireland’s current Parental, Paternity, Carer’s and Family Leave

Leave Who can avail of it Length & Paid/ Unpaid
Paternity Leave Parents of a child under 6 months but not the mother of the child ·         2 weeks – yes, Paternity Benefit paid
Parental Leave Parents and guardians of children under 12 years ·         26 weeks – unpaid
Carer’s Leave  A person who is caring for someone who needs full-time care to:

  • Keep them safe and help them throughout the day with their normal personal needs, such as eating, drinking, washing and dressing, or
  • Protect them from being a danger to themselves
·         Min 13 weeks – Max 104 weeks – unpaid
Parent’s Leave Currently parents of children under 2 years ·         5 weeks currently – yes, Parent’s Benefit paid


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