The Government has announced a plan that will allow workers in the civil service to apply for a minimum of 20% remote working.

The 'Blended Working Framework' will allow employees to request remote working arrangements and seek a review if their application is refused.

Access to blended working will not be an automatic entitlement, regardless of any previous remote working arrangement during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Civil Service employers are being encouraged to support and facilitate access to blended working wherever practicable.

The framework relates to 40 civil service organisations and around 40,000 workers.

It states that, in general, no employee should work 100% remotely.

It is hoped the plan will be rolled out by the middle of the year and will be used as a template for the wider public service.

The plan was launched by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath today.

"Having considered the lessons learnt from remote working during the pandemic, there have been many benefits, challenges and opportunities identified," he said.

"The Civil Service must strive for an optimal balance, where employees who work remotely, do so on a blended basis in order to allow for face-to-face interaction and collaboration with colleagues," he added.

Fórsa, the largest public sector union, was involved in the negotiations of the framework.

It has welcomed the plan and has called for it to be quickly rolled out across the entire civil and public service.

"As the biggest employer in the State, the public service must take a leading role in making remote and blended work part of post-Covid working life," said Derek Mullen, the head of Fórsa's civil service division.