Sinn Féin TD says legislation needed to protect employees working from home

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A SURVEY conducted by shows the necessity for legislation to govern remote working, and also proves the need for a right to disconnect to be introduced in Irish law.

That is the view of Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Maurice Quinlivan TD who said the survey “found that over forty per cent of employees now working from home, are working longer hours than their normal working day”.

The Sinn Féin Deputy noted that with advancements in technology, in normal circumstances people have found it harder to “leave their work at the office”, and now with people using their homes as an office “this is even more challenging”.

He said, “Unfortunately, most businesses do not have a remote working policy for their employees, which can lead to issues between employers and employees down the line.

“Sinn Féin in government has committed to introducing legislation to govern remote working, but also to introducing a right to disconnect for employees.”

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The Limerick City representative highlighted legislation in France which gives employees the right to disconnect “to ensure those working remotely can enjoy a healthy work-life balance”.

“With this survey showing over a fifth of Irish workers feeling like they cannot switch off from work, clearly similar legislation is urgently needed here,” he said.

Deputy Quinlivan continued, “Although there are a host of benefits to remote working, some pitfalls have been exposed in the past few weeks.

“Workers cannot be left out of pocket either for hardware like laptops or printers, or services required like broadband and electricity, when asked to work from home. Employers need to provide the equipment required if they want staff to work remotely.

“Data protection and the handling of sensitive information is another key issue that needs to be covered, to ensure the protection of employees, employers and third parties.

“With working from home now the new norm for most, such legislation should be prioritised in the new Dáil term.”