January 25, 2022
Fine Gael ‘pulling a fast one’ on remote working – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has accused Fine Gael of pulling a fast one in relation to legislation on a right to request remote working.

The Dublin-Fingal TD said the Tánaiste is trying to appear as if he is providing an additional workers’ right, but making that right almost impossible for a worker to access.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Remote working, or working from home, is not just a response to the pandemic. For many years workers, trade unions, and politicians have been highlighting the benefits of remote working and pushing for it to be recognised as a protected form of work with particular safeguards, protections, and allowances for those workers.

“Unfortunately, it took the Covid-19 crisis to fully awaken employers and the Government to the potential for remote working.

“For the vast majority of workers, remote working has been a positive experience. This is exemplified by the scale of demand amongst workers for legislative access to such flexible working arrangements.

“A report on the right to request remote working, published by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, highlighted that workers see remote and hybrid working as key to the future of work.

“Therefore, it is unsurprising that workers are confused and angered by the announcements today that the proposed legislation on a right to request remote working will fall far short of what was expected.

“As the Irish Congress of Trade Unions outlined, the legislation will be judged on whether workers have confidence that it compels employers to be fair, reasonable, and consistent in their considerations. As it stands, workers have no such confidence the legislation will deliver for them.

“Sinn Féin believes the Tánaiste’s 13 sweeping and subjective reasons to allow an employer deny a remote working request are not proportionate. This is exacerbated by the fact the appeal mechanism outlined in the draft heads of Bill is far too weak.

“The reasons which An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has published do not strike the necessary balance between the needs of workers and the needs of employers. 

“This appears to be a case of Fine Gael of pulling a fast one, where the Tánaiste wants to appear as if he is providing an additional workers’ right but making that right almost impossible for a worker to access.”

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