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Ireland: Work-Life Balance And Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 2023 

Ireland has recently passed the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 2023 (Act) amending the Parental Act, Maternity Act, and various other acts (“Amendment Act”) in order to implement the EU Directives 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable employment conditions, and EU Directive 2019/1158 on maintaining work-life balance for employees. The act has implemented a number of solutions resulting from the two EU directives. The Act was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on April 4, 2023. The right to request remote working and flexible work arrangements for caring purposes shall come into effect at a later date yet to be determined. The amendments are as follows –

Right to Request Remote Working Arrangements

The Act introduces the statutory right for employees to make a request to work remotely and the request shall be dealt with in a transparent and expeditious manner such as –  

  • An employee is qualified for remote work arrangement only if they have completed at least a  period of 6 months of continuous service for the same employer.
  • An employee is required to submit the request at least 8 weeks prior to the proposed commencement of the arrangement.
  • The employer is required to respond to the remote work request within  4 weeks, but the period can be extended up to 8 weeks if the employer is having difficulty in assessing the viability of the proposal.
  • If the employer refuses the remote work arrangement, they shall be required to provide grounds for such refusal.
  • An employer has the right to terminate the remote working arrangement if the arrangement has an adverse effect on the operation of the employer’s business.
  • Recording Requirement – An employer shall make a record of approved remote working arrangements taken by each of their employees along with the employment period of each employee and the dates and times upon which each employee was approved for remote working arrangement. Remote work records of each employee shall be maintained by the employer for a minimum period of 3 years. An employer shall be guilty of an offense and be liable on summary conviction to a class C fine if they do not adhere to the recording requirements.

Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements for Caring Purposes

The Act introduces the right to request flexible working for caring purposes under The Parental Leave Act of 1998.  

The Act provides for a right to request a flexible working arrangement to employees who are parents to children up to age 12 years (or up to age 16 years of age if the child has a disability or illness) to provide care to their children, or to employees to provide care to other specified people who are in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason.

The employee can only request this arrangement if the affected person requires significant care or support for a serious medical reason. An employer is entitled to request relevant evidence of the serious medical condition such as a medical certificate.

The criteria for applying for a flexible arrangement will be the same as those for the right to request remote work.  An employer must consider the request but is not bound to agree to it.

Unpaid Leave for Medical Purposes

The Act amends the Parental Leave Act of 1998 by the addition of a new sub-clause which states that employees are entitled to 5 days of unpaid medical leave every 12 months in order to provide significant care or support to a person with a serious medical condition. The leave entitlement is provided to the employee for a serious medical condition of a  spouse, civil partner, parents, sibling, or someone who is living in the same home as the employee. 

An employee must give their employer a signed confirmation of any medical leave they have taken or plan to take as soon as possible. This confirmation must include a declaration of the facts entitling the employee to the leave as well as the date and length of the leave. The employer can request information regarding the employee’s relationship to the individual who needed care, the type of care needed, and any relevant documentation supporting the need for significant care.

The provisions of unpaid leave for medical purposes and shall come into effect as of July 3, 2023.

Paid Domestic Violence Leave

The Act introduces Domestic Violence Leave under the Parental Leave Act of 1998, which shall provide 5 days of paid leave for victims of domestic violence. There is no mandatory service requirement to avail of this paid leave. Domestic Violence Leave shall be provided for assisting employees in relation to any domestic violence that they may suffer, in order to seek medical attention, assistance from professional services, counseling, or legal assistance. 

Domestic Violence Leave Policy Template – The template covers areas such as eligibility, disclosures, confidentiality, available support, and awareness. It can be adapted by employers to reflect matters specific to their organization including size, industry, and workplace setting.

Disclosing Information – An employee will not be obliged to provide any supporting information to an employer when requesting domestic violence leave. However, the template encourages employees who may benefit from employer support to raise the issue with an appropriate person.

Employees who are required to take domestic violence leave must notify their employer as soon as possible. The employee must receive Domestic Violence Leave Pay from the employer at a set daily rate for each day of the leave that is taken. The newly introduced paid domestic violence leave shall come into effect on November 27, 2023.

Extension of Breastfeeding Facilitation Period

Currently, under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, an employee who is breastfeeding after the birth of a child is entitled to 26 weeks of either reduced working hours or a paid breastfeeding break. 

In accordance with the Act, the scope of breastfeeding break was extended. An employee who has given birth to a child and is breastfeeding shall be entitled to either reduced working hours or paid breastfeeding breaks for a period of 104 weeks. Employers are obliged to provide appropriate facilities in the workplace to enable a breastfeeding employee to return to work.  

The Act also extends this right to transgender men who have given birth and are breastfeeding. The changes to the breastfeeding facilitation process shall come into effect as of July 3, 2023.


Conclusion – Employers must inform their employees of the changes and prepare for the changes by proactively reviewing their current policies and identifying areas that will require updates. 


[ Please refer to our earlier blog on the EU Directives regarding transparent and predictable employment conditions and work-life balance for employees ]

    Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.
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