An original scheme of The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 was presented in April last year and published in October 2022. The Bill, comprising of 19 sections, aims to give further directive to work-life balance flexibility for carers and parents and allows for additional medical leave for specific purposes for employees, cases where care is required for a person residing with the employee. It also extends entitlements for breastfeeding, under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, from 6 months to 2 years.
As of March 2023, the Bill has been passed by all stages of the Oireachtas and is currently with the President for signing. Most notably, the Bill introduces statutory paid leave for victims of domestic violence. Following the change in work practices during the COVID 19 pandemic, the Bill also includes the right of an employee to request flexible working conditions when the employee also has the role of carer, for a child, parent, cohabitant, grandparent, sibling or someone who resides with the employee.
The Bill provides guidelines for employers in relation to the above flexible working conditions, allowing it to come into force after 6 months service and providing support where reasonable grounds are considered no longer applicable or need to be changed due to business requirements.