Flexible working Bill not worth the paper it’s written on

Limerick Labour Party Councillor Elena Secas

A Limerick City councillor has described the Government’s Right to Request Remote Work Bill as toothless and a real setback to the promotion of flexible working.

Labour Party councillor Elena Secas said the right to remote working is key to ending commuter chaos, rejuvenating towns and villages, cutting climate emissions and reducing the cost of living for workers.

“The Government’s flexible work bill published last week is doomed to fail. Rather than providing a right to flexible working for employees, it represents a right to refuse it for employers,” she claimed.

“It merely amounts to the declaration of a “free for all” end to the pandemic work from home recommendation. Most of the detail relates to the 13 grounds upon which an employer can reject a request to remote working. The very broad and sweeping nature of these grounds means that the Government has stacked the odds very firmly in favour of employers.

“For workers, this draft legislation is meaningless and it is shocking how much the Government is lacking in ambition with regard to flexible work.

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“There are so many people in Limerick who have benefitted hugely from the overnight shift to remote working. Indeed, we have welcomed many faces, old and new, to Limerick City East for example, moving from cities like Dublin because of the flexible working brought on by the pandemic.

“The development over the last two years in both information technology and the increased knowledge of how to use it has been a game changer, enabling many of us to work throughout the pandemic from our homes or local workplace hubs.

“These gains cannot be lost and that is why Labour is demanding the Right to Flexible Work.

“This would give more workers in Limerick the power and choice to work from home. Among the key gains from a rights based approach to flexible work will be cutting climate emissions, maintaining a better work/life balance, reducing the cost of living, reducing transport congestion and rejuvenating local communities,” Cllr Secas  added.