Paul Quinn is the Co-Chair of the Cross-Border Workers Coalition (CBWC), an alliance of individual Derry/Donegal employees representing employees who reside in the Republic of Ireland but are largely banned from remote working (or remote working). domicile) due to restrictive personal income tax rules affecting cross-border workers who work in Northern Ireland on a daily basis.
Here he gives the reason when he thinks the opportunity is now right to bring the legislative change to the benefit of thousands of cross-border workers across the ‘collar’ region of the Republic of Ireland to enable them to work in the country in which they reside without being exposed to personal tax liability.
Whether it’s the constant bad news, ever-changing restrictions or even the inability to travel internationally, Covid-19 has given us very little to celebrate over the past two years.
Many of us are hoping that 2022 will be the year we finally put the pandemic behind us and leave dreaded phrases like furlough and the “new normal” behind.
And yet, despite all the negativity of the past 24 months, we have seen real progress on one major topic: working from home.
Remote work has transformed my work-life balance, allowing me to spend more time with my family and less commuting time. According to WFH Research, working from home saves staff an average of 70 minutes per day. Half of the time saved is devoted to working more, the other half to leisure, which benefits both employers and employees.
Given these benefits, it’s no surprise that the Irish government has decided to make remote working a permanent feature of our working lives.
The recently released Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021 gives employees the formal right to request work from home and, if passed, will provide much-needed flexibility to workers across the Republic. from Ireland. In other words, if you don’t work in the North.
I live in Donegal and work in Derry. Like thousands of others, I am confronted daily with contrasting laws, frameworks and rules.
But it goes beyond the euro and the pound. While our colleagues in the Republic of Ireland will soon have the right to work from home, we are facing a return to the office full time. As they are given modern work practices, we look to the past.
Remote work is here to stay, but for many cross-border workers, the flexibility of working from home is not. Under current cross-border worker support legislation, cross-border workers, who live in the Republic of Ireland but work in Northern Ireland, may be financially penalized if they work from home.
SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood pictured when he met the Cross Border Workers Coalition over ‘double taxation’.
Without change, employers across the island could be forced to exclude cross-border workers simply because of where they live. It just doesn’t work for the employees we represent.
As co-chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, we have engaged with the Irish government to seek permanent and pragmatic amendments to outdated return on investment tax rules. Although we have secured an extension of temporary Covid-19 support, this derogation from pre-pandemic rules could end overnight, disrupting the lives of thousands of cross-border workers.
And despite engagement with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD and other ministers, no concrete action has been taken.
Any strengthening of the right to remote work is to be welcomed. Now is the time for this flexibility of working from home to be granted to employees, regardless of where they live and work on this island. It is time for cross-border workers to be heard. It’s time to act.