8 April 2022
By Tom Collins
Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, to intervene to secure a right for workers who wish to work remotely.
Speaking during questions with the Tánaiste in the Dáil, Ó Laoghaire said:
“We have seen the huge benefits of remote and hybrid working: no more long commutes, meaning more time at home with children and family members.
“In the past number of weeks however, workers are being recalled to on-site working, many against their wishes. We have a cost of living crisis, fuel costs are rising exponentially, yet we’re forcing workers to drive to their workplaces and incur often crippling petrol and diesel costs.
“If work duties can be performed from home, and a worker wishes to work from home, then that should be supported.
“The Remote Working Bill drafted by the Government as it stands is not fit for purpose. It was written with employers, and not workers, in mind.
“Instead of granting a right to workers to work remotely, it grants a right to employers to refuse this. To dress this legislation up as a right for workers, and then include clauses to ensure that the worker can never actually access this right, is wrong.
“Without robust legislation securing a legal right to work from home, workers are understandably concerned they will be forced into returning on-site and denied the option of remote or hybrid working.
“This week in the Dáil I urged the Tánaiste, as an interim measure until robust legislation is put in place, to issue working from home advice so that workers can continue to work remotely when they wish. The Government needs to show leadership and stand up for workers and their rights. “