The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 passed all stages in the Oireachtas in March, was signed into law in April and came into force in July of this year.
Though not all of the Bill’s provisions will commence immediately. The right to request remote working is waiting on a draft Code of Practice from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and will come into effect at a later date, yet to be determined.
The Bill does though provide for the introduction of new rights for employees to support a better balance of family life, work life and caring responsibilities. The Bill also seeks to support those who are victims of domestic violence through the introduction of a statutory paid leave entitlement of five days.
The legislation gives effect to European Union (EU) directives on work-life balance for parents and carers, and amends other legislation related to flexible working, maternity leave and other matters related to workers’ rights.
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 introduces:
- 5 days unpaid leave for medical care purposes for parents of children under 12, and carers
- 5 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence
- the right to request flexible working for parents and carers
- the right to request remote working for all employees
- 2 years breastfeeding breaks
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act has been introduced as part of a wider EU commitment towards greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Some provisions of the new legislation are in effect adopting EU directives, while others are revising and clarifying Irish policies around family leave and remote working.
Minister Roderic O’Gorman said, “The Work Life Balance Bill represents a significant advance in workers’ rights in Ireland. It recognises the importance of family life and an improved quality of life for all workers, by supporting employees to achieve a better balance between their home lives and work lives. The passing of this Bill introduces a statutory entitlement to carer’s leave, the right to request flexible and remote working, and makes breastfeeding breaks a reality for women returning to work from maternity leave.”
Neil McDonnell of ISME said his organisation’s members will be broadly supportive of the new measures, but “they must work for both employers and employees.
“The impact will be most significant in the services sector, where the employer must provide for the employee while also providing a replacement worker to deliver the service.”
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