The 13 reasons why an employer can refuse a Remote Working request

The new Right to Request Remote Work Bill was unveiled yesterday. It aims to provide a legal framework to govern how employees can apply for remote working and how employers should approve or refuse such requests.

The Bill sets out 13 grounds on which an employer may refuse a remote working request.

These are as follows:

  • The nature of the work does not allow for the work to be done remotely
  • The employer cannot reorganise work among existing staff
  • Potential negative impact on quality
  • Potential negative impact on performance
  • Planned structural changes
  • Burden of additional costs, taking into account the scale and financial resources of the employer’s business
  • Concerns about business confidentiality or intellectual property
  • Health and safety concerns
  • Data protection concerns
  • Concerns about internet connectivity
  • An inordinate distance between the proposed remote workspace and the on-site workplace
  • Any conflict between the proposed remote working arrangement with the provisions of a collective agreement
  • Ongoing or recently concluded formal disciplinary processes.

The legislation will allow any employee with 6 months service to apply. The employer must reply to the request within 12 weeks.

Employers will be expected to operate a written Remote Working Policy, and a refusal to grant a request can be appealed to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The draft legislation is here. The Government expects it to become law by summer 2022. Note that it may be amended before it becomes law.