February 19, 2024
Sodium Valproate (Epilim) Inquiry
In November 2020, the Minister for Health, Mr Stephen Donnelly, announced that an inquiry would take place into the historical licensing and use of the epilepsy drug Sodium Valproate (also...
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 (the “Act”) was signed into law on 4 April 2023.
The Act aims to support better work/life balance for all employees, but particularly employees with family and caring duties and victims of domestic abuse, with the introduction of a range of new rights.
The Act introduces the following new rights for employees:
Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman suggested the various elements of the Act will come into effect in a staggered manner, with the unpaid care leave and breastfeeding breaks to come in first.
The Act transposes Articles 6 and 9 of the EU Work Life Balance Directive into Irish law. It also includes amendments to the Maternity Protection Acts to ensure transgender men can avail of maternity leave after giving birth.
It’s important for employers and employees to note that the Act only gives employees the right to request remote work and employers the obligation to consider and respond to such requests within a 4 week period. It does not, however, give all employees a right to work remotely.
Employers must by law, consider the needs of the company, the employee and the provisions of a promised code of practice. They must also, as mentioned above, respond in a reasonable time.
Employees are also entitled to file a complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) if they feel their employer has not acted in alignment with the code of practice.
Employers and employees should also note that parents and carers do not have an automatic right to flexible working arrangements, rather the right to request these arrangements. It should also be noted that this law only applies to employees who meet the following criteria as outlined in Subsection (2)(b)of the Act:
(b) is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason.
What should employers and relevant employees do next?
It’s essential and employers and employees to whom this Act is relevant, familiarise themselves with the various elements. As mentioned previously, the Government have confirmed that a Code of Practice is forthcoming. It’ll be essential to stay up to date with the various provisions of this Act as they develop.
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