Submission to the Public Consultation on Remote Working guidance

The SFA made a submission to Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation’s public consultation on Remote Working Guidance.  
 

In December 2019 the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation published Remote Work in Ireland, a report on the prevalence and types of remote working solutions in Ireland, the attitudes towards them and influencing factors for employees and employers when engaging with these solutions.
 
The Remote Work in Ireland report found that employers and employees needed more guidance in order to increase the uptake of remote working. In particular the report highlighted the areas of:   
  • equality   
  • health and safety   
  • employment rights and the right to disconnect   
  • data protection   
  • training    
     
In response to the unprecedented number of people working from home, as a result of COVID-19, the Government has published Guidance for Working Remotely during COVID-19 detailing where information can be found on each of these areas.
 
As remote working becomes a bigger part of our work culture, the Department invited interested parties to make submissions to inform the delivery of further guidance on remote working for both employers and employees.  

Our submission made the following recommendations: 
  • More detailed guidance including templates and checklists are needed to support employers and employees understand and adapt remote working practices. 
  • A definition of remote working and description of the two types of remote working solutions, homeworking and hub-working, is needed to clear up any misunderstanding about remote working arrangements. 
  • Examples of how to consider a role for remote working and a statement that not all roles can be considered for home working, would support small firms. 
  • Guidance from the WRC and the Data Protection Commission on keeping adequate records as required by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 for remote workers is needed.  
  • Information for both employees and employers on their responsibilities to provide and ensure a safe place to work would assist in the take up of remote working.   
  • Clarification from the HSA as to how risk assessments should be carried out in a remote working context is needed.
  • Guidance is needed for employers to ensure they are cognisant of the challenges that can emerge through remote working such as isolation, impact on career progression, which would undermine the benefits of remote working if they are not addressed appropriately and the negative impacts mitigated by specific actions.  
     
SFA also submitted views on the right to disconnect, the cost and administration impact of remote working and accesses to training. SFA believes that legislation to press for additional flexible working solutions is not appropriate at this time. 

The full submission can be read below.  
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