Newry Chamber announced their support for the group – the Cross-Border Workers Coalition (CBWC) – which has been set up in response to the fact that employees who live in the Republic of Ireland but work in Northern Ireland are primarily prohibited from remote working.
They are subject to a ‘double tax’ on their income should it be determined that they have worked from home or within the Republic of Ireland.
Emma Mullen Marmion, who is a HR Consultant at Emerald HR and President of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade says, “Covid-19 has been referred to in the HR Industry as the largest “Working from Home” experiment.
“It’s a measure of the agility of businesses and organisations to respond and adapt quickly to the growing challenges faced throughout the global pandemic.
“Childcare constraints, meeting the caring responsibilities of staff, managing the risk to the health of our people, travel restrictions, and restrictions to the numbers of people who could gather in office spaces were among many of the constraints forcing staff to work from home.”
With Covid-19 restrictions tightening across the Island, and particularly in border counties, it is thought that many workers will remain working at home for some time to come.
This has brought this issue firmly into the light, and the CBWC is calling on politicians to review the situation now urgently.
Emma continues, “Working with businesses as they plan for recovery, returning to “Business as Normal” and beyond, it is clear that working from home will not only be a necessity but a requirement and request of workers across the country.”
An NI resident employee can work in the Republic of Ireland for up to 60 days without triggering a tax liability, whereas a Republic of Ireland resident employee that works outside of the Republic of Ireland would lose the ability to claim Cross-Border Worker Relief for carrying out certain duties.
The group says now is the time to make the necessary changes to future proof against other outbreaks and create a better work-life balance for employees.
On joining the steering group of the Cross-Border Workers Coalition, Emma Mullen Marmion explains, “As a Chamber, we fully support this campaign by the Cross-Border Workers Coalition in respect of remote working tax liabilities.
“I am looking forward to working closely with the wider steering group to bring about a pragmatic solution.
“Newry City is the closest city to a European Country, located just 10 km away from the Republic of Ireland.
“Given the proximity to the border, the Chamber recognises that this is an issue that faces many of our members and the cross-border workers they employ.
“Newry City is recognised as a prime location to work and to do business,” Emma maintains.
“The ‘double tax’ burden for those who work remotely, which this campaign aims to change, recognises the difficulty that this may pose for Newry businesses to attract and retain skilled workers who live on their doorstep.
“It puts undue financial and personal pressures on the lives of hundreds of cross-border workers.
“Greater flexibility for Republic of Ireland workers can bring substantial benefits to our local economy and anything which boosts our attractiveness for inward investment, that keeps skilled workers in our region must always be considered,” she adds.
Aidan O’Kane, from the leadership Cross Border Workers Coalition Steering Group, comments, “We are thrilled to have the support of Newry Chamber and are particularly looking forward to working with Emma in the coming weeks.
“Her background, expertise and connections in Newry and the wider region will be invaluable to the wider campaign.
“We see this as another indication of the groundswell of support behind our campaign.”
He continues, “Already we have engaged with Newry and Armagh MLA and Finance Minister in Northern Ireland, Conor Murphy and welcome his commitment to push this with his counterpart in the south.
“There has been an acknowledgement too from the Irish Revenue Commissioners that this is an issue they are aware of and have temporarily waived this liability during the pandemic.
Aidan adds, “As we face further restrictions and instructions to work from home, the need for a permanent and pragmatic solution to this issue is clear to see.
“Now is the opportune moment to resolve this issue once and for all.”