MEP Midlands North West

‘Remote working can end rush-hour for good’

MEP Markey calls on employers to be flexible as office return looms

M50 commuter chaos could become a thing of the past if employers fully embrace remote working options for staff according to Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey. He made the remarks as the Cabinet confirmed a phased return to workplaces from September 20th*. The Midlands-North-West MEP – who represent constituents in the commuter belt counties – said workers should be able to opt for remote or blended working if they wish.

“Although the return to workplaces will be on a phased basis, I’m calling on employers to be flexible from the get-go when it comes to remote and blended working. Many people will want to continue working from home, particularly those living in the commuter belt, who would normally be stuck in traffic for hours on their way in and out of the office. Research from Transport Infrastructure Ireland in 2019 revealed an 86% increase in M50 traffic between 6am and 7am in just five years. We have the opportunity to end the rush hour chaos once and for all. Doing so will help reduce pollution, give people a better quality of life and ultimately boost productivity”, he commented. 

The Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has already said the Government will pass legislation this year that will provide employees with a right to request remote working, while work is underway at European level to establish minimum requirements for remote working and clarify working conditions, hours and rest periods.

“I recently outlined the benefits of remote working directly with the European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica and I have requested that an own initiative report be carried out in the European Parliament which is the first step towards EU-wide legislation. I also look forward to seeing the new law being introduced in Ireland, as it will set out a clear framework to facilitate remote working. In the meantime, I believe employers should take the lead on this issue and embrace positive change”, Markey concluded. 

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