Linda Hynes comments for RTE’s Morning Ireland radio show on the new Work Life Balance Bill in Ireland
22 April 2022
The Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was brought to the Ireland Cabinet on 20 April 2022. The new bill aims to give effect to an EU Work-Life Balance Directive.
The Minister for Equality Roderic O'Gorman said the Work Life Balance bill is about recognising the "importance" of balancing caring and parenting roles with work responsibilities.
He said there are three key elements to it - giving parents and carers the right to request flexible work, offering five days unpaid leave for medical care reasons and an extension on the amount of time in which employees are entitled to take breastfeeding breaks.
Linda Hynes, partner in Lewis Silkin’s Dublin office, said the new bill is designed to modernise Irish legislation to align it with the EU's Work Life Balance Directive, which counts among its aims an increase in the number of women in the workforce.
"Ireland is actually quite compliant with a lot of the provisions of the legislation," she said. "We do have a lot of leave that would be covered by a lot of the areas of the directive, but the flexible working would probably be the biggest area where we're not compliant [at present]."
Linda explains that the details of the bill's provision were still unclear, but it appeared to offer the right to request flexible working to a broader category than is required under the EU directive.
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