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Conor Dowds, Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition
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Reacting to the phased return to workplaces in the Republic of Ireland from yesterday, Conor Dowds, Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, has once again highlighted ongoing difficulties for cross border workers.

Dowds said “While it is welcome to see employees gradually returning to the office today, the Irish Government must not ignore the pressing concerns of cross-border workers. Republic of Ireland based cross-border workers, who work for an NI-based company, face a ‘double tax’ if on their income if they work-from-home. Prior to the pandemic, these restrictive personal tax rules forced employees into long, daily commutes, sacrificing valuable family time to avoid an unnecessary financial penalty. A temporary Covid-19 waiver has meant that cross-border workers have been able to work-from-home during the pandemic, but this relief is set to end.”

“We agree with An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD, that remote working should become “a permanent fixture of Irish working life”. For employees in border areas, however, this simply will not be possible. From January 2022, the Irish Government is set to re-introduce these income tax laws which effectively deny home-working opportunities to thousands of cross-border workers. Border businesses will not be able to offer their employees remote working opportunities as by doing so, their employees can face a ‘double tax’ on their income. This simply does not work for the employees we represent.”

“A recently published paper from the Tax Strategy Group, an advisory body to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD, argued that reform of these tax laws would harm the competitiveness of Irish businesses compared to their Northern counterparts. The paper takes scant regard of the all-island economy, and places the hypothetical concerns of the few ahead of the real concerns of border families across the North.”

“Remote work is here to stay, but for thousands of cross-border workers, home-working flexibility is not. Cross-border workers are Irish citizens, and this Government must work to ensure employees are not denied modern working practises simply because their employer is based in the North. We now urge Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD to act in October’s Budget and grant cross-border workers the flexibility they need to work remotely from January 2022.”

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