Dr Laura Bambrick, Social Policy Officer or the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, discussed how remote working has been the ‘great disruptor’ to the workplace with many employees favouring a blended approach to home and office working. One area of concern is that existing legal protections are outdated and not fit for purpose – the legislation currently in force was designed for those working standard hours and predates technological advances such as the smart phone. It will be important for employers to strike a balance between recording workers’ hours of work to ensure they have rest breaks and ensuring their approach does not become surveillance.
Leyla Nematollahi Esmaili, HR Leader Southern Europe at GE Renewable Energy in Spain, described the Coronavirus pandemic as a great opportunity for employers to allow greater flexibility for employees regarding how and when they work, and emphasised the need to respect employees’ right to privacy when working at home. One potential issue with introducing laws that allow employees the right to disconnect might mean an end to flexible working patterns, if enforced too strictly.
David Yewdall, Partner of Smith & Williamson (UK), discussed some of the potential tax issues of allowing employees to work abroad, recommending that employers consider any local responsibilities and potential administration costs that may be involved. UK employers should ensure they comply with National Minimum Wage obligations now that it is well documented that home workers are working longer hours.
- Leyla Nematollahi Esmaili, HR Leader Southern Europe, GE Renewable Energy, Spain
- David Yewdall, Partner, Smith & Williamson, UK
- Dr Laura Bambrick, Social Policy Officer, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Ireland
- Colleen Cleary, Principal and Founder, CC Solicitors, Ireland (Chair)
This session formed part of the The World of Work: The Great Reset 2021, Innangard’s first virtual conference held on 24 and 25 March 2021. The conference brought together six international panels of distinguished speakers including leading scientists, politicians, in-house professionals and global HR and employment law experts, to share insights and discuss how the world of work and their organisations have adapted and will develop in 2021 and beyond.
Find out more and listen to the other podcasts here.