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Right to request flexible working arrangements to become law

  • 17-01-2022 3:21pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,609 ✭✭✭ daheff

    I mean the key word here is "REQUEST". Theres no obligation on the employer to facilitate this request.

    Surely we've always been allowed to request flexible working arrangements?

    Now if there was a meaningful part of this law that meant no reasonable request could be turned down, then I'd be more happy with it. It just feels like papering over the cracks and passing the buck by the government.


  • Registered Users Posts: 793 ✭✭✭ JPup

    It's an EU directive so I don't think the Irish government will have had any meaningful input into it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,609 ✭✭✭ daheff

    Yes it is an EU directive being made law, but that would only be a minimum provision (our sale of goods act is better than EU law for example)

  • Posts: 0 Hamza Rich Manic

    The right to request is stronger than the OP presumes.

    It's well established under WRC practice that the reasons for a denial must hold up in the first instance and that repeated refusal of a reasonable request will require demonstration from the employer that all efforts have been made to find a solution

    It puts a much heavier onus on the employer than wording might suggest

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,836 ✭✭✭ BrianD3

    Where did the October deadline come from - everything I read so far said the directive was to be transposed into law by the 2nd August.

  • Registered Users Posts: 75,060 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn

    What if someone chooses not to have kids but wants the flexible working arrangements to go home to play with their train sets, how will they be accommodated?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭ Bellie1

    Working in public service. Have been 100% WFH since start of pandemic. The only reason that employer can claim I need to be in the office is if new staff I need to train up/work with /build a relationship with. Surely one day a week would be enough for that so that's my ultimate worst case scenario, to be in office one day a week. It's surely going to be hard for employer to argue against ?

  • Posts: 0 Hamza Rich Manic

    The civil service (not sure about wider publi service, im sure a google would tell you) came in under the remit of the WRC during the pandemic and it has the potential to formalise this kind of thing in a way that could be quite a radical shift.

    The only thing id be wary of is that in the absence of much actual dealings yet, we havent seen how much weight the wrc could give to a claim that the entire service could be granted exemptions as a special case

    On the face of it, it would be ridiculous, but irish solutions to irish problems have happened before....

  • Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭ Bellie1

    Tried googling but can't find out if public service falls under remit. Without this as an appeal option, then won't have a chance in hell of arguing a case to be mostly WFH. By "entire service", do you mean public service?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,836 ✭✭✭ BrianD3

    If you search the WRC decisions and recommendations on their website, there are loads involving county councils going back several years. I didn't find any using the search term "civil" so maybe the civil service is different or else I needed to use a different search term.

    It would be news and surprising to me if the WRC didn't have a remit for CS and PS employment issues.

  • Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭ Bellie1

    Thanks for that. I saw there's a backlog there so even if was to refer, could be waiting years for a decision? Hopefully employers will be reasonable and legislation tight enough , but the terms public sector and reason don't go hand and hand.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,836 ✭✭✭ BrianD3

    Based on what I'm hearing and my own experiences in the PS, the WRC could be swamped with disputes between public servants and their employers over remote work. The pandemic really showed up parts of the PS. Dinosaurs were so fixated on the office, paper, bureaucracy and treating staff like bold children that people were ordered back to offices in contravention of clear public health advice. If that happened during a global pandemic, what will it be like afterwards.

    Some unions proved completely useless. Staff who had been working effectively from home were ordered back to the office in summer 2020. They got on to their union and were told "well, management want everyone back in the office so you should go back to the office"

    The Right to Request Remote Work legislation was supposed to be in by the end of 2021. Spoofer Varadkar said this on several occasions. No sign of it.

    We can't rely on unions or on being treated like human beings by our employers which is why the legislation, WRC and courts are vital

  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭ LegallyAbroad

    What part of the PS are you, roughly?

    I'm in the CS and it's not an experience I recognise at all, frankly.

  • Posts: 0 Hamza Rich Manic

    Thanks for that, the civil service came under their remit last year (not sure of exact date, it was explained to me by an actual expert on a related issue!) so it's good to know that at least some public sector have been in already

  • Posts: 0 Hamza Rich Manic

    Nor mine but its has been the case across several other departments from people I'd know

    This kind of thing relying on departmental managerial culture is hopefully exactly the kind of thing the WRC should provide clarity on

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,836 ✭✭✭ BrianD3

    I don't want to say - not even roughly or by PM. I will say though that I've heard mostly positive comments from civil servants about wfh during the pandemic but loads of complaints from public servants.

    Not surprising, the civil service would generally be more forward thinking compared to other parts of the public service. The closer you are to central government or to the "money" parts of the public service, the better things are.