The Right to Disconnect is an integral part of promoting remote working and the new Code of Practice announced today by Government is a recognition of the change that’s taken place in the workplace, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Emer Currie, Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Work Life Balance, was speaking as the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced a new Code of Practice giving all employees the Right to Disconnect from work and have a better work-life balance.
Senator Currie said: “Improvements in technology were supposed to give us more flexibility, not less. However increasingly employees are finding it hard to switch off. Our work life balance needs to be respected and protected.
“The new Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect announced by the Tánaiste today, will help to improve and encourage remote working, something I have been a huge advocate for.
“Key to this will be flexibility. With remote working, it may in fact suit some people to work later in the evening so they can manage care responsibilities at certain points of the day. For others, they want the right to switch off after the traditional working day and have their evenings or weekends free. Hopefully this new code will facilitate conversations between employers and employees about what works best for them, as well as the responsibilities and boundaries needed on both sides.
“I commend the Tánaiste for his commitment to modernising and reimagining our workplaces, and prioritising more flexibility and choice.”
In tandem with today’s announcement on the Right to Disconnect, the Tánaiste is also inviting views on the plan to put the right to request remote working into law.
Senator Currie continued: “The right to request remote work consultation is the first permanent step to changing how we work, giving people more choice and control over their work/life balance. Other countries like New Zealand, Finland and the UK already have right to request legislation so we can learn from their approach.
“I hope Ireland in time can become the next Finland when it comes to flexible work where fathers in 2017 spent as much time with their children as mothers and the gender employment gap in 2020 was less than 2%.
“In order to make this possible we need strategic investment in a professional network of co-working hubs in order to support remote working. I recently got a Private Members Motion passed in the Seanad about making local communities ‘remote ready’, and this week I was pleased to see the Government’s Rural Future plan prioritise investment in remote work hubs.
“The Rural Future Plan contains a welcome blueprint to draw people to work in local communities across the country, but there also has to be a supply of remote jobs to make it work. All of government needs to work together to make this happen and so it’s great to see this consultation on remote working follow on from the rural strategy only days ago,” Senator Currie concluded.