Green taxes, financial incentives and low-cost broadband telecommunications access across the Republic should be introduced by the Government to create a telework-friendly State and a tax environment that supports the growth of e-commerce.
These are among the recommendations of a report published yesterday by the National Advisory Council on Teleworking, which said that the taxes would provide for enterprises to encourage employees to work from home. Widespread teleworking would assist regional development, enable employers to retain specialist employees, give a better quality of life to workers and create employment opportunities for marginalised groups.
The Minister of State for Science, Technology and Commerce, Mr Noel Treacy, said that teleworking allowed people to choose where and when they work and made it easier to reconcile work and family commitments.
Speaking at the publication of the report entitled "New ways of living and working: Teleworking in Ireland", he said that being able to choose where to work could be a major tool for regional development. "Giving employees the flexibility of teleworking can increase access to skills which are scarce and in great demand. There is no doubt that taking traffic off the roads will have indisputable benefits for everyone."
The report calls on the Government to introduce teleworking options into all Government Departments, to require all publicly-funded organisations to formulate a teleworking policy by 2002 and have the code of practice for teleworking endorsed and adopted by the social partners.
Mr Treacy said that the Government should show itself as a leader in the implementation of teleworking and is exploring the possibility of commencing pilot projects in a number of Departments.
The council says that the Government has to prepare for a situation in 10 years' time where everyone will have access to cheap high-speed communications networks.