HR Blog (May 22): Mandatory Living Wage; Right to Remote Working; & Nonprofit Advice

Posted on
3 May 2022
by Sarah Fagan, Adare Human Resource Management

HR and Employment Law Updates for the Irish Nonprofit Sector - Monthly Series

Government Planning On Introducing Mandatory “Living Wage”

It was announced by An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister, Leo Varadkar that plans for the introduction of a mandatory living wage will be brought before the Government ahead of the summer break.

The current living wage is set at €12.90 per hour, a figure calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group and is the basic amount that is deemed necessary to cover an average worker’s needs to a socially acceptable standard. This figure is €2.40 per hour more than the current minimum wage of €10.50 per hour.

Varadkar said that he had just received a report he commissioned by the Low Pay Commission to examine and make recommendations on the best approach to establishing a living wage in Ireland. It is estimated that around one in five Irish workers currently makes less than the living wage.

It still needs to be decided how the living wage would be calculated but Varadkar said that there was merit in a basket of goods and services approach. However, another approach could be setting the living wage as a percentage of the median wage, which is a simpler approach.

Together with the increasing cost of living, this will no doubt put additional financial pressure on the nonprofit sector. According to the latest HR Barometer Report, published in April, over four in ten (44%) organisations in the nonprofit sector are planning salary increases this year with the same number undecided.

The Right to Request Remote Working Expected to Be in Place by Summer

In late April, the Cabinet agreed to introduce Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman’s “Work-Life Balance Bill” that commits to introduce the elements of the EU’s Work Life Balance Directive. The legislation is expected to be in place ahead of the summer recess.

The proposed Bill entitles employees to five days of unpaid leave available for all family members to support those with medical needs. Carers or parents will also have the right to request flexible or compressed work hours. Carer’s leave can only be granted for a relative or someone living with an individual who is in need of “significant care or support for a serious medical reason”. An employer can ask for evidence to substantiate the request, which may involve sharing medical records.

Under the Bill, there will be an entitlement for paid breastfeeding breaks as well as introducing paid leave for victims of domestic violence.

The introduction of flexible working arrangements is the result of the Government implementing the EU’s Work Life Balance Directive.

The Directive on Work-Life Balance aims to make it easier for people to balance paid work and private life, including caring responsibilities. The Directive introduces minimum standards for parental leave including paternity leave, carer’s leave, the right to flexible working arrangements for parents and carers, and safeguards against unfair dismissals. 

The Directive is designed to modernise existing work-life balance frameworks for parents and carers while also supporting a more equal sharing of parental leave.

What Nonprofit Organisations Need to Do Now

According to the HR Barometer Report, there is an average of 42% of employees in the nonprofit sector availing of hybrid working, with at least one day remote working. The research also found that nearly nine in ten nonprofit organisations are planning to implement a Remote Working Policy ahead of the legislation being introduced.

If your nonprofit organisation does not already have a Remote Working Policy in place, then we would recommend that you consider developing one. Ensure you incorporate feedback and input from your employees.

While employees will have the right to request flexible work arrangements, employers will not be under an obligation to grant any such request but should engage with the employee to provide a reasonable explanation and objective justification for the refusal. However, employees can take a case to the WRC if an employer refuses a request.

Visit for further advice & guidance for Irish nonprofit employers.

Adare Human Resource Management is a team of expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice Human Resource Management consultants. For more information go to or call (01) 561 3594.