The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 16 November 2023
This new legislation provides for the introduction of new rights for employees to support a better balance of family life, work life and caring responsibilities.
- 5 days unpaid leave for medical care purposes for Carers and Parents of children under 12
- 5 days paid leave for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Right to request Flexible Working for Parents and Carers
- Right to request Remote Working for all employees
- 2 years entitlement to Breastfeeding Breaks
Redress: A complaint can be taken to the WRC where an employer has not complied with specific Codes of Practice or the other requirements of the Act.
Leave for Medical Care Purposes – Enactment Date: July 2023: Leave for medical care purposes to allow an employee provide care or support for a serious medical reason. This is reserved for instances of care relating to a specified person who is a child, co-habitant, parent, grandparent, sibling or co-occupant of the same household. This leave is unpaid and subject to a maximum of 5 days in any 12-month period. Employers may request evidence, e.g. a medical certificate.
The leave can be taken as separate days, but not in periods of less than one day. No service requirement is required nor is prior notice required. Employees will be required to confirm to their employer in writing, as soon as reasonably practicable, that they intend to take or have taken this leave.
Domestic violence leave (up to a maximum of 5 days in any 12- month period) will be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay. This allows affected employees to seek medical attention, help from victim services organisations, undergo counselling, obtain a court order, relocate, take legal advice or seek assistance from the Gardaí.
Applies to the following categories of employees:
- An employee who is providing care to a child under 12 years old or under 16 years old if the child has a disability or long-term illness.
- An employee providing care to a, spouse/civil partner, cohabitant, parent or grandparent, sibling or co-occupant of the same household.
6-month’s service is required. The employee must submit the request in writing and provide supporting documentation. The employer should provide a response within 4 weeks, outlining the arrangement and a commencement/end date for the arrangement.
A Government review will take place after 2 years to include a consideration of whether the right to request flexible working should be extended to all workers, giving organisations an opportunity to introduce flexible working policies and gauge how they are operating against business needs.
In order to avail of the above, an employee must have 6 months service. An employee must submit the request in writing 8 weeks prior to the proposed commencement of the arrangement. The employer must provide a response to the request not later than 4 weeks after receipt of the request. The employer should allow for an internal appeal process. There is an obligation on the employer to consider both business needs and the needs of employees when considering a request. The legislation stipulates that employers will have to maintain a written remote work policy, and to have regard for the Code of Practice developed by the WRC when considering requests. This code of practice is expected to be published imminently and will outline more specific guidance on the management of such requests.
An employee who is breastfeeding is entitled, for up to 2 years, without loss of pay, to take 1 hour off from work each day as a breastfeeding-break which may be taken as: one break of 60 minutes, two breaks of 30 minutes each, three breaks of 20 minutes each, or a reduction in working hours without loss of pay by 1 hour each working day.
Applies also to women who have transitioned into males, and subsequently given birth to a child, provided they hold a gender recognition certificate under the Gender Recognition Act 2015.
Other Key Developments - Work life Balance Polices & Awareness
Menopause: Though currently not on a statutory footing, many employers are looking at initiatives providing an inclusive and supportive work environment to employees experiencing menopausal symptoms. This includes areas such as: flexible working, tailored options within the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), an Open Door and Confidential Approach in-house, Physical Considerations in the workplace.
Grandternity: People are living longer and working longer. Employers are considering retention and wellbeing strategies regarding an older workforce as people choose to work beyond what was traditionally seen as retirement age.
Reproductive Health-Related Leave & Support: The government is proposing legislation which seeks to provide women and men with support at work, where they are dealing with fertility or other reproductive health issues. Reproductive leave of up to 20 days is proposed for employees who suffer a miscarriage and up to a maximum of 10 days paid for those undergoing treatments like IVF.
Legal Island Training Resources for Your Staff
Menopause | eLearning Course
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The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.