Responding to the launch of the #MakeRemoteWork public awareness campaign by Minister Varadkar, Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary Patricia King said:
It took a pandemic to fully awaken us to the potential for remote working. While the 15-month working from home ‘experiment’ has been fraught for some workers, for the vast majority it has been a positive experience and there is a huge appetite for remote and blended working arrangements when the Covid-19 restrictions end.
When implemented in the right way, working from home or remotely from another location close to home, such as a digital hub, offers many advantages for workers and their families, businesses, communities and the environment. That is why ICTU was first to call for a legal framework for dealing with requests to work remote, in line with other countries.
“I am pleased our calls have been heard by Government and that they have committed to introduce legislation on the right to request remote work” Ms King said.
Social policy officer, Dr Laura Bambrick said: “The campaign launched today by the Department of Employment is to encourage employers, workers and their representatives to start talking and thinking about the remote and blended working arrangements that will work for them when their office reopens later this year.
We all recognise flexible working must be balanced with the needs of the business and that no two businesses are alike. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all remote and blended work model. Arrangements will need to be agreed at the company level. But, what is common to all workplace is the need to begin planning now, if they haven’t done so already.
Ms King added: “ICTU is strongly of the view that flexible working must become a mainstream feature of work post-pandemic. Trade union reps in workplaces around the country and ICTU will continue our work towards ensuring a full and proper implementation of Government’s commitment to ‘make remote work’ and to ‘build back better’.”