In April 2023, the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023, was signed into law. There is currently no set date as to when this legislation will come into force, however, it is anticipated that it will be in the coming months. It is envisaged that a number of the rights in this Act will be staggered, however measures such as breast-feeding breaks and caring leave will be brought in sooner.
It is critical for employers to understand the scope of this Act and the changes that will be required in updating their policies.
The highlights of the Act are:
- The right for all employees to request remote working
- The right for parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements
- The introduction of 5 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence, this will make Ireland one of the first countries in Europe to introduce this right
- 5 days of unpaid caring leave for carers/parents of children under 12 years of age, and 16 years of age where the child has a disability/long-term illness
- The extension of breastfeeding breaks from 6 months to 2 years after the birth of the child
- Amendments to the Maternity Protection Acts to ensure that transgender men who have given birth can access maternity leave
The Act introduces these measures to help employees balance their personal and professional lives.
Employers will need to ensure existing remote working policies meet the minimum obligations set out in the Act. They will also need to ensure the right to request flexible work for caring purposes is included in their policies.
When reviewing policies, it is important to ensure the following minimum requirements are incorporated:
- Timelines for requests and responses
- Criteria to be included in requests
- Factors that will be considered when assessing such requests
Other factors to consider include withdrawal of requests, early return, termination of arrangements and employee protection.
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act will require key changes to be made to policies on remote working and family leave. It will also bring about the need for the development of new policies such as domestic violence leave and flexible working for carers. While it is currently unclear when this legislation will come into force, it is critical for employers to prepare for its implementation by reviewing and updating their policies, with acknowledgement of amendments that may need to be made in line with the development of the WRC’s Code of Practice.
For more advice and support on the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act or to discuss our HR services, please contact a member of the RBK HR Solutions Team:
- Yvonne Clarke - HR Solutions Manager - (090) 6480600
- Áine Dunne –Asst. HR Solutions Manager - (090) 6480600
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information within this publication is correct at the time of going to print, RBK do not accept any responsibility for any errors, omissions or misinformation whatsoever in this publication and shall have no liability whatsoever. The information contained in this publication is not intended to be an advice on any particular matter. No reader should act on the basis of any matter contained in this publication without appropriate professional advice.