21/11/2002

Ahern moves e-work up agenda

The Irish Minister for Trade and Commerce, Michael Ahern, has said that e-work is now firmly part of the broader e-business agenda in Ireland.

Addressing delegates at the recent two-day ICT and e-Work Conference, Mr Ahern said: "It [e-work] harnesses the potential offered by advances in information and communications technologies. The necessary building blocks are now in place which will allow e-work to continue to develop and become an accepted part of Ireland's economic life.

"The growing interest by both employers and employees in family friendly work arrangements will also act as a driver to the uptake of e-work into the future.

"E-work is a concept that will both enhance our competitiveness and, just as importantly, help many individuals to organise their working lives in a manner which provides greater flexibility and job satisfaction."

Marking the 10th Annual Conference of Telework Ireland (TWI) who have made a major contribution to the development of e-working in Ireland, the Minister said: "TWI's work was instrumental in setting up the National Advisory Council on Teleworking (NACT) in 1998, and its members have contributed their expertise both to NACT and the e-Work Action Forum."

In 1999, NACT presented a report 'New Ways of Living and Working in Ireland, Teleworking in Ireland'. In response to the report, which contained a number of recommendations, together with a Code of Practice on teleworking, the then Minister established the e-Work Action Forum in November 1999.

Mr Ahern said: "Since its inception, very considerable progress has been achieved under the auspices of the e-Work Action Forum, in establishing e-work as a method of working which has the capacity to improve the competitiveness of enterprises. There have been a number of significant achievements arising from the work of the Forum."

Among these the Minister noted that: Enterprise Ireland had engaged in a major e-Work Awareness Campaign; Government, IBEC and ICTU had ratified the e-work Code of Practice; the Revenue Commissioners had issued a guidance leaflet "e-Working and Tax" to clarify the tax issues; and FAS had designed a recognised e-working training course to be delivered on-line.

Congratulating the members of the Forum on a "job well done," the minister said that he believed the Forum has been "very successful in furthering the e-work agenda and has very successfully fulfilled its mandate".

(SP)

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