A leading HR specialist says laws giving employees the right to request permanent remote working will improve staff retention and motivation.

HR Team Director, Breda Cullen made the comments after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar published Ireland’s first National Remote Work Strategy which aims to make remote working a permanent option after the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new legally admissible code of practice on the right to disconnect from work will also be introduced – covering phone calls, emails and switch-off time.

LEO Varadkar Remote Working Legislation

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However, Ms Cullen said it is important that employers are given clarity on how exactly the legislation will impact employers.

Ms Cullen, said: “Whilst this is a welcome proposal from the government and will assist employers will staff retention and motivation, further detail on how the process will work in practice is needed. It will be interesting to obtain clarity on what exactly legislation will require from employers and what they will be obliged to do in this regard.

“Working from home can be hugely efficient for many organisations and many of our clients are finding that their employees are more productive when working remotely. However, this is sector dependent; home or remote working may not be feasible for many and therefore it is very important that the legislation, once finalised, facilitates those businesses.”

It took a pandemic to fully awaken us to the potential of remote working – changes in legislation as a result of this demonstrates the seismic shift in working arrangements within the past year.

Ms Cullen continued: “Currently, an employer decides the location of an employees’ place of work, and this should be included in the terms and conditions of employment following mutual agreement. Employers should prepare for this forthcoming legislation by reviewing health and safety implications, performance management, the provision of resources and the need for regular communication.

Pivotal to ensuring that there are minimal productivity dips as a result include setting clear basic standards, outlining what is expected of employees, setting targets, and regular feedback.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar, stated: “Many people would want to continue to carry out at least some remote working after the pandemic. It was very important that the Government protect the rights and entitlements of such workers so that they could ‘switch off’ from their jobs.”

Employers are advised to update employee handbooks and contracts to ensure compliance with the upcoming changes in employment law. It is expected the new system will be put in place before the end of this year.

Free Remote Working Webinar

If employers would like further, expert advice on this topic – HR Team is hosting a complimentary webinar ‘Remote and Office Working: Managing Staff & Motivation in 2021’ on Thursday January, 21 11am-12pm. Please register here: http://bit.ly/3ifXeEt