Written answers

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Flexible Work Practices

Photo of Emer HigginsEmer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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83. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there will be a review of the application of the Workplace Relations Commission code of conduct on the right to disconnect by either the Workplace Relations Commission or his Department to examine the number of workplaces that have adopted it and the way they it is applied in practice; and the monitoring and evaluation of the policy that is being conducted. [50327/21]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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In January 2021, the European Parliament published a proposed new directive on an EU-wide ‘right to disconnect’. Whilst it may be some time before we see progress on this at a European level, I wanted to progress at a national level our commitment in the Programme for Government to bring forward proposals on a right to disconnect.

In November 2020, I requested that the WRC prepare a draft Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect, in accordance with section 20 (2) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect was launched on 1st April 2021. It is too early to review its application, though I am open to doing so at a later stage.

Employers, employees, and their representative bodies find Codes of Practice particularly useful as reference points and they often serve as the basis for internal policies and procedures within firms and across sectors. While failure to follow a Code prepared under section 20(1)(a) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 is not an offence in itself, section 20(9) provides that in any proceedings before a Court, the Labour Court or the WRC, a Code of Practice shall be admissible in evidence and any provision of the Code which appears to the court, body or officer concerned to be relevant to any question arising in the proceedings shall be considered in determining that question.

In tandem with the Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect my Department and the agencies under its remit are driving the implementation of actions under the National Remote Work Strategy. Each action in the Strategy has been attributed to lead actors across government for delivery and each action is scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year.


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