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This is a Letter to Request Remote Work. The Covid 19 Pandemic forced a reconsideration of how and where work can be conducted. As many employees were forced to perform all the tasks and duties of their employment from home, it became clear that for many workers, their productivity was maintained if not increased when working outside of the office. Moreover the Covid Pandemic revealed the wide array of benefits associated with remote working for both employers and employees. Employers noted reduced costs on heat, electricity and equipment, employees noted an improved work-life balance with less time spent commuting and greater flexibility in how they manage their work. In light of this, the Irish government announced plans to make requesting remote work a legal right for employees. The Right to Request Remote Working Bill is making its well through the legislative process after several rounds of public consultations and input from employers. This Letter Requesting Remote Work is designed in contemplation of that Bill (soon to be Act).
The employer has the right to reject the request, but only on legitimate business grounds, some grounds include: employee's productivity, health and safety concerns and data protection concerns. This letter pre-emptively addresses those factors which may incline the employer to refusing a request. It provides space for the employee to articulate why their productivity, health and safety and other business responsibilities will remain in tact during periods of remote work.
Employees can request to work exclusively remotely or request a 'hybrid' work arrangement, by which they spend some days in the office and some days working remotely. This document allows users to specify the type of working arrangement they would ideally like. It should be remembered that this Letter Requesting Remote Work is just that, a request. The user should express their ideal preferences which the employer can subsequently accept or reject. It is the first offer in a negotiation. If the employer is unhappy with a particular term they can present a counter offer that is more amenable to their business needs.
The Right to Request Remote Working Bill requires employees to list the reasons why they want to work away from the office. There are any number of factors why an employee might wish to work remotely and this document provides ample space to elaborate the reasons prompting the request. Employers want happy employees, so it is advised that employees be as detailed as possible and outline all the benefits that remote working would bring to them personally and how it would facilitate their lifestyle.
Employers have 30 days to respond to the request. They may accept the employee's proposal in full, agree to remote working on adjusted terms or reject it. If the request is refused the employer must present business grounds why remote working is not a viable option for the current employee. As stated, this letter is designed to pre-empt any of the typical business concerns that would prevent remote working. However, if the request is denied, employees can apply for remote working again in 12 months time. Or if the employee considers the employer's decision to be unfair, unreasonable or in any way discriminatory, they can make an appeal to the Workplace Relations Commission. This final course of appeal offers a strong safety net for employees. It means that employers are highly encouraged to grant requests for remote work if it can be at all accommodated.
How to Use this Document
This document can be used by any employee who seeks to perform the tasks of their employment remotely, on a full or part time basis. The only caveat is that employees should be employed with their current employer for at least six months to be lawfully entitled to request remote work under the present Bill. Some employers may extend this right to all employers, however it is at their discretion. It is therefore advised that employees employed for shorter periods consult their Employee Handbook to identify their employer's stance on this.
The Right to Request Remote Work Bill strongly encourages all businesses to have a dedicated Remote Work Policy in place. It is advised that that the user consult this document when filling in the template to ensure that any of their employer's concerns or preferences are addressed.
This document is written in compliance with the law of Ireland. It incorporates the standards of the Right to Request Remote Working Bill, set to become law by the end of 2022 or early 2023. This Bill (soon to be Act) is set to be the framework for employee's rights and obligations in respect of remote work for several years to come.
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