Remote Working Legal Issues Worry HR Managers

21 May 2021 | 10.22 am

Remote Working Legal Issues Worry HR Managers

ByrneWallace and Legal Island survey

21 May 2021 | 10.22 am

Employment law issues arising from flexible working and remote working have been highlighted as key areas of concern by HR professionals working in the public sector, according to law firm ByrneWallace and workplace compliance company Legal Island.

Their recent survey showed that two-thirds of HR respondents cited the need for further guidance when dealing with requests for flexible working, while the same proportion highlighted concerns on how to deal with flexibility issues such as hybrid working arrangements, working from hubs etc. 

A further 64% said that the new Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect was also a key area of concern.

Covid-related issues also made it into the top ten areas of concern, including:

  • Health and safety and Covid-19 related grievances (63%)
  • Disability discrimination in the context of Covid-19 and a return to work/continued remote working (61%)
  • Return to work issues (59%)
  • The vaccine rollout, employees who refuse to get the vaccine, and related issues (57%)

The recent Uber judgment and developments in assessing employment status (54%) and dealing with employees on long term sick leave (49%) also made the top ten.

ByrneWallace partner Michelle Ní Longáin (pictured) said: “The National Remote Work Strategy will give employees a legal right to request remote working. It also sets out an ambitious target, requiring at least 20% of public sector workers to work remotely by the end of 2021, and this target is set to increase over the next five years.

“Achieving this target poses significant opportunities and challenges for policy makers and HR professionals working in the public sector, as they navigate the many issues that surround the design and implementation of flexible working arrangements, while continuing to deliver excellent public services and meet legal obligations and employee expectations.”

Scott Alexander of Legal Island added: “It’s not a surprise that the two most popular issues respondents highlighted are flexible working and remote working.  Employers, regardless of sector, will have to offer some home working or they’ll struggle to keep or get staff. But allowing staff to work from home brings new responsibilities and concerns.”

ByrneWallace and Legal Island  are hosting a conference on Thursday May 27 on these and other issues, aimed at HR professionals working in public sector organisations. Details  here.

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