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The Work Life Balance Bill has been passed in Ireland

The Work Life Balance Bill was quietly passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, giving employees the right to request remote working.

The original draft bill was met with criticism from unions and employers, but the Government was open to changing it.

The controversial grounds for refusal were ditched and instead employers and employees will be making and considering requests for flexible or remote working under one law and one Code of Practice to be developed by the Workplace Relations Commission. The WRC will publish its Code of Practice setting out guidance for employers.

This law is seen as a gamechanger in terms of employee rights, encompassing the right to request remote working or flexible working, unpaid medical care leave, enhanced breastfeeding breaks, and paid leave for domestic violence.

However, there are still concerns about the practical application of the new Code of Practice.

Women’s Aid welcomed the passing of the law but is concerned that the rate of pay has not yet been determined.

More battles could lie ahead as stakeholders gather to draw up the rules that will govern this new area of Irish employment law.

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