The Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment has recommended a number of changes to the Government's proposed new law on remote working.

Publishing its report on the 'Right to Request Remote Work Bill', the committee is calling for the removal of the need for an employee to have worked 26 weeks before being allowed to request remote working.

It is recommending that refusals of requests for remote working must be grounded in a stated policy from employers, founded on established codes of practice.

The committee is calling for the introduction of tighter grounds in primary legislation so that unreasonable refusals should be open to challenge.

Members say that remote working should incorporate hybrid and flexible working and that bureaucracy involved in the drawing up of remote working policies should be kept to a minimum for small and medium businesses.

Details of the Right to Request Remote Working Bill were announced in January by 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.

Unions have said that the draft bill is stacked in favour of the employer when it comes to grounds for refusal and grounds for appeal.

Employers have questioned the need for the legislation and have warned that it may result in additional administrative burdens for businesses.

The Government has said that it will listen to the concerns of stakeholders as it prepares the remote working legislation which is due to be finalised in the autumn.

Meanwhile, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions called on the Government to make the introduction of its remote working bill a legislative priority.

General secretary Patricia King said there has been a "deficit of ambition" by Government to deliver on their commitment to provide workers the right to request remote work.

"The bill as currently drafted does not deliver robust legislation guaranteeing fair procedure and balancing employer and employee needs," she said.

"Government must not delay amending the fundamental flaws, it now acknowledges, in this important piece of legislation - in particular tightening the grounds for refusal and strengthening the right to appeal – and getting it enacted."

Grow Remote said that it welcomed the committee's report.

"But what's really critical is that the legislation ultimately helps to drive the systemic change needed at all levels to support companies to make the transition to remote," said Tracy Keogh, co-founder of the organisation.

"The success or failure of the legislation will depend on whether or not it helps to build the robust remote working ecosystem we need in order for Ireland as a nation and Irish companies to compete at the highest level globally."