Sherlock takes Government to task on delay to commence Work-Life Balance Act

11 October 2023
  • Government in no rush to grant right to request remote and flexible work to workers
  • This comes over six months after Work-Life Balance Act 2023 signed into law.

Labour’s Workers’ Rights spokesperson Senator Marie Sherlock has hit out at Government’s lax attitude to giving workers a right to request remote and flexible work in this country.

This comes after Senator Sherlock challenged Minister Neale Richmond, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, in the Seanad on these delays. 

Senator Sherlock said:

“Over six months after the Work Life Balance Act 2023 was signed into law, Government has yet to commence important sections of the Act, which ensure that workers have a right to request remote work and flexible work.

“Labour argued for a very clear set of rights to be inserted into the Bill. These rights would offer possibilities to those who want to work, or want to work full time, but cannot due to a range of barriers. These barriers include a disability or a lack of childcare or other barriers in their lives. 

“However, Government opted for a much more narrow and restricted version of the Bill and delegated responsibility to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to devise a Code of Practice. Over 18 weeks since the close of the WRC consultation, we are still waiting for the WRC to produce the Code of Practice. Another delay.

“Yesterday in the Seanad the Minister made assurances that they’re working towards the publication of the Code of Practice, yet no date has been confirmed.

“These delays are having a real impact on workers. We’ve had lone parents tell us of their frustration that they don’t have a framework to request flexible work arrangements and are caught in a situation where there is no after school care available locally. A right to request flexible work would have a hugely positive impact on these workers’ lives.

“Furthermore we know there are workers who have been forced out of the main urban centres because of the high rent and unattainable house prices but who want to stay in their jobs. We know that some workers have been forced back into the office on a full time basis, a right to request remote work is vital for the quality of life of these workers. 

“We are calling on the Government to prioritise the Work-Life Balance Act, allow workers’ the right to request flexibility and remote working and positively impact the lives of workers in Ireland.”

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