Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
184. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if her Department has adopted the Workplace Relations Commission Code of Conduct on the Right to Disconnect; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53818/21]
The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) was established on 19th July 2017 to provide a renewed and consolidated focus on rural and community development in Ireland.
While my Department has not formally adopted the Workplace Relations Commission Code of Conduct on the Right to Disconnect to date, it does actively adhere to the obligations set out for employers in the Code.
My Department provides detailed information to its employees via their contracts of employment and the DRCD Staff Handbook concerning their working hours in accordance with the Terms of Employment Information Act, 1994 - 2014. The Staff Handbook also informs staff of what their normal working hours are reasonably expected to be under the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.
Employees of my Department are encouraged by the Human Resources Unit, and line managers, to take the appropriate resting periods, including annual leave, in accordance with the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, we have also done this under the guidance provided through our Health and Wellbeing Programme.
Employees have been permitted to continue to work flexible working hours (in line with business requirements) since the onset of Covid – 19 and managers continue to actively encourage employees to maintain good work boundaries in relation to their working hours.
My Department intends to review the Code of Conduct on the Right to Disconnect and to draft a policy in due course, and in line with the impending Blended Working Policy for the sector.