Employment LawFamily Law

Passage of Work Life Balance Bill in the Oireachtas Welcomed by the ICTU

By March 30, 2023 No Comments
work life balance

The passage of the Work Life Balance Bill in both the Dáil and the Seanad has been welcomed by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

First announced more than a year ago, the Work Life Balance Bill provides for a swath of measures that will aim to improve the work life balance for families across the country. In addition, the bill will also introduce paid leave for victims of domestic violence, unpaid leave for the purposes of medical reasons, as well as the right to request to work remotely.

Previous Bill Criticised

Prior to its inclusion in the Work Life Balance Bill, the right to request working remotely had been proposed under a separate bill, the ‘Right to Request Remote Working Bill’. However, this bill had been criticised by unions and other stakeholders, with claims that it overwhelmingly favoured the employer in terms of whether to refuse or grant such requests from employees.

Such grounds for refusal, of which there had been an exhaustive list of 13 in the original bill, have been replaced by the requirement to consider the needs of both employees and employers when remote working arrangements and such requests are received.

Critical Step

The Work Life Balance Bill has been described by the ICTU as a critical step to ensure that the combination of personal and professional lives are more equitable for workers in Ireland.

Despite a positive reaction from the ICTU to the passage of the bill, it has not been without its criticisms. According to ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy, he said it was “disappointing” that it only provides for 5 days for those absent from work due to domestic violence.

“If this new law is to do what is intended, workers must be paid their full wage during absences. Anything less risks putting them in further danger,” he added.

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