Groups representing trade unions and employers have appeared before the Oireachtas Enterprise Committee to express their concerns about proposed new remote working legislation.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions and business group IBEC were giving their views on the Right to Request Remote Working Bill.

Details of the proposed new law were announced in January by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.

The legislation is designed to give employees the right to request remote working and will require employers to provide reasonable grounds for refusing requests.

At today's committee hearing, IBEC warned that it could place an additional administrative burden on employers and questioned the need for the legislation, arguing that many companies are already offering remote or hybrid working.

"We believe that legislating for a statutory right to request remote work at this stage is premature and may stymie the ability for employers and employees to manage remote working in a creative and flexible way," IBEC's Director of Employer Relations Maeve McElwee told the committee.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions told TDs and Senators that the proposed legislation was stacked in favour of the employer and was "fatally flawed" when it comes to grounds for refusal and grounds for appeal.

ICTU's General Secretary Patricia King told the committee that, in effect, the proposed legislation will only allow for a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission on procedural grounds.

"ICTU and its affiliates are strongly of the view that an appeal to the WRC taking issue with the substantive decision of the employer must be provided.

"Without this, the proposed legislation is utterly pointless," she said.

The Government has said that it will listen to the concerns of stakeholders as it prepares its remote working legislation.

It is currently expected that the new law will be enacted by the summer.

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