The refusal grounds are so all encompassing, they make a mockery of the stated purpose of the legislation.
The government’s working from home Bill is an employers’ charter which only serves to undermine the right to work from home, according to Social Democrats Enterprise Spokesperson Catherine Murphy.
“I was concerned, before the legislation was published, that the Bill would be tepid and underwhelming. Those fears have now been borne out. Instead of granting employees a right to work from home, the legislation is an employers’ charter which creates wide-ranging exemptions from the entitlement.
“For instance, a request to work from home can be refused if an employer feels there is a “potential negative impact” on quality of work or performance – not an actual or verified negative impact. These refusal grounds are so all encompassing, they make a mockery of the stated purpose of the legislation.
“A statutory right to work from home has the capacity to be transformative – especially for women, disabled people and carers, many of whom have been locked out of the jobs market, because of restrictive work practises, for far too long. A real right to work from home would also have myriad positive impacts on the environment, by reducing car journeys and improving air quality; facilitate rural regeneration and ease housing pressure in urban areas.
“There were many negative consequences to covid, but one of the few positive impacts was the revolution in work practises that occurred over the past two years. We now need to embed those reformed work practises and ensure that hard-won progress is not lost.
“We cannot miss out on this opportunity. The government must amend its legislation and provide a real right to work from home – one that can only be refused on reasonable grounds.”
25 January, 2022