Workers and employers disagree about remote working, including how long they work before they can apply outside the office.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar today publishes a report based on 175 filings received as part of the ongoing process of drafting laws to give employees the right to request remote work.

Comments from employees, private companies, industry associations and trade unions show that most employers believe that their employees should have been on duty for at least 12 months before they are entitled to remote work.

This would ensure that the employee has sufficient opportunities to properly integrate into a company and develop the necessary collegial relationships as well as gain a strong understanding of the company culture.

Tánaiste @LeoVaradkar has urged employers and employees to make remote and home work a much larger part of working life after # COVID19. pic.twitter.com/KyEomGOKUT

– Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (@DeptEnterprise) June 28, 2021

However, employee opinions argue that access to remote working should not be determined by length of service per se, but that both employer and employee have a sense of trust, the employer knows the employee’s skills and experience, and equally, so that the employee is sufficiently familiar with the work requirements to enable remote work.

While most workers believe that employers should respond to remote work requests within a month, companies say it takes a minimum of two months to assess the adequacy of a request.

However, 86% of the submissions received found it acceptable for an employer to offer an alternative hybrid work pattern with a combination of remote and on-site work.

With regard to the costs of working from home, 85% of those questioned were in favor of the employer assuming the costs, 10% against. Interestingly, 12% of respondents suggested introducing a government grant or tax incentive similar to the wheel-in-the-work program.

Mr. Varadkar said there is now a “real opportunity” to make remote and blended working a much bigger part of normal working life. “The introduction of a right to request remote work creates a clear framework to facilitate remote and mixed work options as much as possible.

“It ensures that when an employer rejects a request, the reasons are given and discussions with employees are conducted in a structured manner. We recognize that teleworking does not work for everyone or for every organization, so the government will take a balanced approach with the new legislation, “said Varadkar.

Earlier this year, Tánaiste released Ireland’s first national remote working strategy to make remote and mixed working a bigger part of life after the pandemic.

Currently in Ireland all workers can ask their employer for the right to remote work, but there is no legal framework in which to apply and how it should be treated by the employer. The proposed new law will clearly set out how these requests will be facilitated as much as possible.

The filings recognized that not all professions or certain roles are suitable for remote working, and Mr Varadkar said the government has committed to taking a balanced approach to the new legislation.