Finance union pushes for post-lockdown rules on home working

Call for allowances, IT and legislation to professionalise move to remote labour

Financial Services Union:  “We cannot assume that rules made for the pre-Covid-19 world are sufficient now.” Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Financial Services Union: “We cannot assume that rules made for the pre-Covid-19 world are sufficient now.” Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

 

The Financial Services Union (FSU) has written to Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar calling for Government backing for rules on remote working, which is expected to remain a permanent feature of the economy following the Covid-19 crisis.

The union is calling for increased allowances for employees working from home, sufficient IT and other equipment, legislation for the right of workers to disconnect after office hours, and four-day working weeks with no changes to pay for people in the financial industry “in recognition of work intensity”.

“Our protocol sets out what needs to be done to professionalise home-working, which has become the new normal for many,” said FSU general secretary John O’Connell, citing Central Statistics Office data in May showing that 34 per cent of those in employment had started remote working from home as a result of Covid-19, with 2 per cent seeing an increase in their working hours.

“There is an urgent need to address the challenges which are now arising,” he said.

Pandemic insight

The new programme for government said the coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party would “facilitate and support remote working, reduce the time wasted in our cars and ensure that families have more time together”.

“We must take the good things we have learned from the pandemic and apply them towards a resilient future,” the document said.

A recent FSU survey of members who been working from home as a result of the pandemic found that 56 per cent of respondents have seen an increase in work intensity, with two-thirds reporting an increase in work-related stress.

“This protocol does not seek to be a final word. We invite comment from members, the community at large, employers and stakeholders in the sector. But we are asking for a real debate,” the FSU document said.

“While many workers have shown that they are up for the challenge of home-working, we cannot assume that rules made for the pre-Covid-19 world are sufficient now.”