Written answers

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Flexible Work Practices

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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19. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will provide an update on the remote working strategy. [45165/22]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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My Department published the National Remote Work Strategy on January 15th, 2021.

The Strategy identified 15 actions to ensure that remote work is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises its economic, social and environmental benefits.

My Department is leading the implementation of the Strategy’s actions through an Interdepartmental Group and very significant progress has been made. I would highlight the following actions delivered by various Government Departments and agencies:

- The publication in January of the General Scheme on the Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2022. Officials in my Department are carefully considering the Final Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Bill which was published in July. I want to progress this Bill as quickly as possible.

- The publication of the Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect in April 2021 by the Workplace Relations Commission.

- An enhanced income tax deduction of 30 percent of heat, electricity and broadband expenses for remote workers announced in Budget 2022.

- The launch of ConnectedHubs.ie- Ireland’s national digital hub network- in May 2021.

- The allocation of €5m in funding to 81 remote working projects across the country through the 2022 Connected Hubs Call. This follows the award of almost €9m via the 2021 Connected Hubs Call.

- To date, a total of approximately €100m has been provided by the Government through various funding streams to support the development of remote working infrastructure across the country.

- My Department launched new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024 during spring 2022, which include a strong remote work focus.

-While the National Broadband Plan has been impacted negatively by COVID-19, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications is continuing to engage with National Broadband Ireland to address the delays that have arisen, with delivery of the Plan having gained momentum in recent months.

- The publication of the Civil Service Blended Working Policy Framework by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in March.

- My Department is continuing to develop and promote its Guidance for Working Remotely webpage and Employer Checklist.

- The publication of an evaluation of the impacts of remote working in May which identified positive effects of remote work on productivity, the environment, regional development, private finances, and labour market participation.

I am satisfied that good progress is being made to ensure that Ireland is leading on remote work and supporting balanced regional and rural development.


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