News & Events

Government launches consultation on Flexible Working under Future Jobs Ireland

  • Consultation seeks the views of employers, employees, trade unions and the general public on flexible working
  • Flexible working is crucial to young families and those with disabilities

The Government has launched a consultation seeking the public’s views on flexible working as part of Future Jobs Ireland, the whole of Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for the future.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, launched the consultation process in Government Buildings this morning.

This consultation is being undertaken to seek views from employers, employees, trades unions and the wider public on the types of flexible working arrangements currently in place and the changes that they wish to see.

Also under consideration is the potential impact of changes in technology, the workplace, the family and society on the types of flexible working arrangements available to employees and the potential obstacles that may exist for small, medium and large employers when facilitating flexible working arrangements. 

Launching the consultation process, Minister Humphreys said: 

As we approach full employment, we need to be more creative about how we look at the world of work.

That’s exactly what we’re doing through Future Jobs Ireland, the whole-of-Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for the future.

Flexible working has the potential to bring huge benefits to employers and employees alike. It can improve work / life balance and make life a bit easier for families. It can also help businesses to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive labour market.

Obviously, however, any new Government policy needs to work for businesses in the first instance, which is why we want to hear their views, together with the views of workers, to decide the best way forward.”

Minister Stanton said:

We are seeking to develop a policy that takes account of the needs of families, particularly those with young children, of individuals, including those with disabilities, of employers and of the broader economy. 

Flexible working arrangements can support parents to balance caring and work responsibilities.  They can also be crucial for those caring for older people or those with disabilities as well as for employees who themselves have disabilities.”

Flexible working options may include:

-          starting or finishing work at differing times

-          working compressed hours

-          having access to flexi-time

-          being able to work remotely

-          having the right to disconnect outside work hours.

Flexible working can also include access to part-time or shared working options.

There are a number of ways people can have their say on flexible working. Detailed submissions are invited and can be made by emailing

Alternatively, you can submit your views by completing a short questionnaire on the Department of Justice and Equality’s website. The survey and additional information about the consultation can be found at

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm on 31 January 2020.

Submissions received will be uploaded on along with a report on the consultation process.


Notes for Editor:

What questions make up the consultation?

Your views are sought on the following questions:


  • Does your employer offer flexible working arrangements?  Which arrangements are available?
  • As an employee, what sort of flexible working arrangements do you need or would you like to see in your workplace?
  • In your opinion, which flexible working arrangements should be prioritised?
  • Which actions do you think could be undertaken by the Government to enable you to have access to flexible working options?
  • Which actions do you think should be introduced by employers? 


  • As an employer, what sort of flexible working arrangements work best for you?
  • Do you offer flexible working arrangements to your employees?  Which options do you offer?
  • Are there actions that can be taken by Government that can reduce any negative impact of flexible working arrangements for you as an employer?
  • Are there new and emerging technological supports or solutions that you would like to see explored or introduced? How would these directly impact on your business? 

Trade unions:

  • What is the current position on flexible working arrangements for your members?
  • Which actions would you like to see introduced by Government to improve the range of flexible working arrangements available to your members?
  • Which actions would you like to see introduced by employers to enable your members to have access to flexible working arrangements?
  • Are there penalties for employees who access flexible working arrangements?

What will we do with your responses?

The Government will use the answers that you give to these questions to develop a policy on flexible working in 2020.  It will prepare a report that will summarise the findings from this consultation.  The Government will draw on the findings of this consultation to consider whether or not new legislation is needed.  It will also consider whether existing supports meet the needs of businesses and employees and if additional supports are required.  It will look at how technology and working methods can help employers and employees to have flexible working arrangements that meet the needs of employee and business alike. 

About Future Jobs Ireland

Future Jobs Ireland is a Government of Ireland initiative with deliverables assigned across a range of Government Departments and agencies. Future Jobs Ireland incorporates five pillars as set out below (along with some illustrative examples):

  1. Embracing innovation and technological change – This includes supports, policies and initiatives that promote and enable RD&I among enterprise; encourage digitalisation; and support the development and adoption of technology.
  2. Improving SME productivity – This includes supports, policies and initiatives that enhance productivity, especially among SMEs; promote indigenous entrepreneurship, especially in the regions; encourage clustering and stronger links between domestic and foreign owned firms; and assist businesses to move up the value chain.
  3. Enhancing skills and developing and attracting talent – This includes supports, policies and initiatives that enhance Ireland’s human capital offering, including in areas such as ICT and management skills; develop Irelands’ vocational and third level institutions; improve Lifelong Learning rates, and ETB initiatives that enable disadvantaged groups to return to the workforce.
  4. Increasing participation in the labour force – this includes supports, policies or initiatives focused on improving labour market participation, especially among young people, older workers, women and people with disabilities; improving the supply and cost of childcare; enabling more flexible working arrangements; and streamlining immigration procedures.
  5. Transitioning to a low carbon economy – this includes supports, policies or initiatives aimed at expanding renewable energy generation; retrofitting of buildings to improve energy efficiency; roll-out of electric vehicles; and enterprise / employment opportunities in the green/circular/bio economy. 

Each Pillar sets high level targets for 2025. Overall, Future Jobs Ireland 2019 includes 26 meaningful and impactful ambitions supported by 127 deliverables for completion in 2019.

Central to Future Jobs Ireland is a re-orientation of policy from the numbers of gross jobs created in the economy, to the creation of more productive and sustainable jobs. It will focus on the challenges ahead in terms of ensuring we have skilled people working in quality jobs in sustainable sectors. Future Jobs Ireland will also ensure our enterprises and workers are well positioned to adapt to the technological and other transformational changes our economy and society will face in the years ahead.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631 2200

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