The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has welcomed the passage of the Work Life Balance Bill by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
The legislation will introduce a range of measures to improve family-friendly work practices including giving parents and carers the right to request flexible work.
It will also introduce unpaid leave for medical care reasons, paid leave for victims of domestic violence and give employees the right to request remote working.
Originally, the Government had proposed introducing a separate “Right to Request Remote Working Bill” before deciding to include it in the “Work Life Balance Bill”.
The remote working bill, in its original form, had been criticised by unions who said it was stacked in favour of the employer when it came to grounds for refusal and grounds for appeal.
Under the new law, the grounds for refusal have been replaced by an obligation on the employer to consider both their needs and the needs of employees when assessing a request for remote working.
Employers will also be required to have regard to a new code of practice being developed by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
ICTU described the Work Life Balance Bill as important legislation that delivers a suite of measures to make it easier for workers to combine their professional and personal lives.
“Ireland is leading the way in bringing in paid leave for workers who are victims of domestic violence,” said ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy.
“However, 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 said.
“It is disappointing that the leave is for only five days. Unions will continue to collectively bargain workplace agreements – all of which provide for 10 days paid leave,” Mr Reidy said.