Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2022
On 25 January 2022, the Government published the Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021. The Bill provides employees with a statutory right to request a remote working arrangement. It further requires employers to have a Remote Working Policy in line with a proposed Code of Practice.
Submitting a Request
Employees are entitled to submit a request to work remotely in writing to their employer provided they have been employed for a minimum period of six months.
Where making a request, the request must include the following details:
- The proposed working location
- The proposed start date for arrangements
- The proposed number of days to be worked remotely, along with hours
- Any previous requests made by the employee for remote working, and
- A self-assessment of the suitability of the proposed remote working location, including a plan for addressing concerns like confidentiality, connectivity
and data protection.
Employers may write to the employee seeking further reasonable information or evidence relating to the request and may request a meeting with the employee to discuss their proposal, allowing the employer an opportunity to consult with the employee when considering their request.
Response to the Proposals
Following consultation with the employee, employers must return a decision in writing indicating whether the request for remote working has been wholly approved, partially approved or denied at the very least within 12 weeks from receipt of the request.
Declining Remote Working Requests
Employers may decline requests after giving them due consideration, once satisfied that the proposal is not suitable on business grounds.
“Business grounds” are wide ranging and include but are not limited to:
- The nature of work not allowing for the work to be done remotely
- The inability to reorganise work among existing staff
- Potential negative impact on quality of business product/service
- Potential negative impact on employee performance, or performance of other employees
- Burden of additional costs after all financial and other
costs that would be entailed have been taken into account
- Concerns for protection of intellectual property or of business confidentiality
- Concerns for suitability of proposed workplace on
health and safety grounds
- Concerns for suitability of proposed workplace on data protection grounds