Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
435. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of her plans to develop guidance on remote working particularly relating to the health and safety obligations of employers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11239/20]
As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I understand both the importance of safe working conditions as well as the opportunities presented by flexible working solutions. Last year my Department published the Remote Work in Ireland report. This research paper was dedicated to understanding the prevalence and types of remote working arrangements within the Irish workforce, the attitudes towards such arrangements, and the influencing factors for both employers and employees partaking in remote working.
A key outcome identified in the Remote Work in Ireland report was the need for official guidance for employers and employees on a variety of different topics, such as equality, health and safety, employment conditions and the right to disconnect, data protection and training.
To build on this work, I committed to the establishment of an Interdepartmental Group comprising of all relevant Departments and Agencies to align approaches and develop clear guidance on remote work for employers and employees. This Group has been formed and is currently steering the development of guidance on this topic. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is one of a number of organisations on this Group that are helping to inform the shape of this guidance. We will also be engaging with various stakeholder groups on this as it progresses. It is expected that the guidance will be completed by the end of 2020.
It is also important to note that, in response to the shift towards homeworking as result of COVID-19 pandemic, the HSA has created a page on its website outlining the safety, health and welfare at work requirements when temporarily working from home. This page is useful to employers in terms of outlining the specific duties they have when their employees are working from home. Equally it is useful for employees in outlining their responsibilities when working from home.