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‘Working Remotely’ Policy Under Government Consideration

It’s the reality of modern living. The days of clocking in to one location for forty hours a week are numbered it would seem. In particular because of the mobile nature of work nowadays, not to mention because the whole idea of ‘work’ itself is changing.

In previous generations our parents got a job for their entire careers but at the rapid pace of change nowadays, more than 3-5 years in any one position is becoming unusual. Hence many more people are starting businesses out of co-working spaces and many traditional businesses are trying to offer flexible working to cater for crazy childcare costs which make it difficult for parents to manage how they make money to keep the show on the road.

The government appears to be waking up to the changing way of working. What they will exactly do about it is a horse of another colour but they have begun a discussion on the issue.

Flexible working options may include:

  • starting or finishing work at differing times
  • working compressed hours
  • having access to flexi-time
  • being able to work remotely
  • having the right to disconnect outside work hours.

Music to me ears sez you.

Now the government has launched a ‘consultation’ on Flexible Working, seeking the views of employers, employees, trade unions and the general public.

This consultation is being undertaken to seek views from employers, employees, trades unions and the wider public on the types of flexible working arrangements currently in place and the changes that they wish to see.

Also under consideration is the potential impact of changes in technology, the workplace, the family and society on the types of flexible working arrangements available to employees and the potential obstacles that may exist for small, medium and large employers when facilitating flexible working arrangements.

Launching the consultation process, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said:

‘As we approach full employment, we need to be more creative about how we look at the world of work. That’s exactly what we’re doing through Future Jobs Ireland, the whole-of-Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for the future. Flexible working has the potential to bring huge benefits to employers and employees alike. It can improve work / life balance and make things a bit easier for families. It can also help businesses to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive labour market. Obviously, however, any new Government policy needs to have buy-in from businesses in the first instance, which is why we want to hear their views, together with the views of workers, to decide the best way forward.

Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton said:

‘We are seeking to develop a policy that takes account of the needs of families, particularly those with young children, of individuals, including those with disabilities, of employers and of the broader economy. Flexible working arrangements can support parents to balance caring and work responsibilities. They can also be crucial for those caring for older people or those with disabilities as well as for employees who themselves have disabilities.’

All fine and dandy. Let’s see what incentives they off to, in the words of Star Trek Captain Jean Luc Picard, ‘Make It So.!