For Oral Answer on : 03/02/2022
Question Number(s): 42 Question Reference(s): 5287/22
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection if a decision has been taken to expand her Department’s employment and recruitment events to include remote working opportunities and the promotion of remote working hubs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Part of the legacy of COVID-19 is changes to patterns of work behaviour that accelerated and are now established as a ‘new norm’. For employers the greater use of digital technology and remote working are now well embedded and will persist.
Last year my colleague, Leo Varadkar TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment published the Government’s National Remote Work Strategy ‘Making Remote Work’. The strategy sets out a road map on a number of issues, such as the facilitating of remote working on a legal basis and mapping and investing in a network of remote working hubs across Ireland. An important commitment in the Strategy is to introduce a new law giving workers the right to request to remote work. The recently published Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2022 is part of the Government’s vision to make remote working a more permanent feature of Ireland’s workforce in a way that can benefit all – economically, socially and environmentally.
In my role as Minister for Rural and Community Development I launched the Connected Hubs Network, Ireland’s first national network of remote working hubs. At present, there are 178 hubs already using the ConnectedHubs.ie platform. As we look to the reopening of our country, I am determined that we make remote working a permanent and viable reality for thousands of people and for businesses.
In Pathways to Work, my Department commits to engaging with new digital development by taking advantage of online service capabilities to extend the reach and efficiency of our service delivery. This includes hosting a number of job promotion events to match jobseekers with jobs, including with remote working opportunities in full or in part. In this way we can harness the opportunities provided by the positive experience of remote working during the pandemic to further support access to employment for all.
Under the Government’s Employment Services Strategy, Pathways to Work, my Department has put in place a wide range of measures to assist those out of work find new jobs. These measures include commitments to host 150 Job Promotion Events (virtual or in person) each year to showcase employment opportunities and to facilitate the introduction of employers and jobseekers. Also, two national Intreo Work and Skills Weeks will be held each year, one virtual and one in person. Each of these will involves a week of intensive jobs focussed job promotion events and seminars across the country.
As part of these events, my Department will engage with employers to match jobseekers with new jobs including remote working opportunities.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.