Employment Law update: Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2023
There have been some significant employment law developments recently, including sick leave, protection for whistle-blowers, gender pay gap reporting, transparent and predictable working conditions, not to mention clarity around tips and gratuities within the hospitality sector.
The next piece of legislation is the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act (2023) which has bees signed into law and will be expected to be in place in mid-2023. The changes outlined in the Act are designed to allow for a better work life balance for parents and carers. The intention being that by providing greater supports to employees with caring responsibilities, there will be a more equal sharing of responsibilities among parents, leading to an increased representation of women in the labour market. In summary, the act introduces the following:
- 5 days unpaid leave for medical care purposes for carers and parents of children under 12. This is in addition to existing entitlements under the Carer’s Leave Act and Force Majeure leave;
- 5 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence;
- The right to breastfeeding breaks extended from 6 months to two years from date of child’s birth. This rectifies an anomaly in the Maternity legislation whereby breastfeeding breaks were only provided while most employees would have been on statutory maternity leave anyway.
- Extension of maternity leave entitlements to transgender men;
- The right to request flexible working for parents and carers;
- The right to request remote working for all employees
The Workplace Relations Commission is developing a code of practice around requesting remote work and is likely to provide guidance for both employers and employees on how to manage requests. While employers will be obliged to consider requests, there is no obligation on employers to grant all requests. As the pandemic showed us, some roles can very effectively be done remotely, while others clearly can’t.
These employment law changes are likely to be introduced on a staggered basis over the coming months, starting with the breastfeeding breaks and caring leave, with the aim that the domestic violence leave will be in place by the end of the summer.
Now is a good idea for employers to start thinking about updating their handbooks and policies to reflect these upcoming changes. PerspectiveHR can help with this, get in touch on 0876471907 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.