Remote Working Legislation Comes into Operation


The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) published the long-awaited code of practice on the right to request flexible or remote working this week. 


The workplace entitlements covered in the code have been enacted by the government under the Work Life Balance Act which was enacted in April 2023. 


The new code will provide practical guidance on best practice to employers and employees when considering applications for remote working arrangements. 


This week AmCham participated in a meeting of the Enterprise Forum where discussions focused on proposed measures on working conditions, which include the right to request remote working. 


AmCham previously made a submission to the Department’s public consultation on the right to request remote work. The Government’s General Scheme of legislation largely aligns with AmCham’s recommendations.   


In the new code, employees will have the right to request to work from home after working for their employer for at least six months. AmCham, in the consultation process outlined that “at a minimum the employee should have completed probation period, have completed the requisite training required and developed an understanding of what the role entails.”


An employer who receives a request for remote work must respond “as soon as is reasonably practicable, but not later than 4 weeks after receiving the request” but this can be extended by another period of 4 weeks if “an employer experiences difficulty assessing the viability of the request”.  If the request is refused the employer must “provide notice in writing informing the employee that the request has been refused and the reasons for the refusal”. 


This is in line with AmCham’s submission on the right to request remote work which stated that “it is important that the reason behind the decision for a request to remote work is shared with the employee, and that it is fair and equitable while taking the needs of the business into consideration.” This is also reflected in the new code of practice.  


The code outlines a non-exhaustive list of reasons for which an employer may decline such a request and while employers are not limited to the reasons on this list, the code states an employer must consider a request for remote work in an “objective, fair and reasonable manner”. AmCham in its submission on the right to request remote work, outlined a list of reasons, largely reflected in those outlined in the General Scheme of legislation and stated that “it is important that any legislation is flexible on this point and leaves it to the employer’s discretion to decide on whether an employee can operate remotely.”  


Furthermore, an employer's agreement or refusal of one request will not “set a precedent or create the right for another employee to be granted or refused a similar change to their working pattern”. An employer can also terminate an approved remote working arrangement in certain circumstances including if the new working arrangement is having “a substantial adverse effect on the operation of their business, profession or occupation.” 


You can read the WRC’s full code of practice on flexible working here


AmCham will continue to monitor this topic on behalf of members. To engage further on this topic, please contact Christina Kelly, Public Affairs and Advocacy Manager, at