Employees have a right to disconnect from work as of today

By James Fenton

April 1, 2021 at 11:13am

Employees have a right to disconnect from work as of today

Employees will have a right to not answer calls or emails outside of working hours under a new code of practice signed by Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar.

Under the code, people will have the right to switch off outside working hours and should not be contacted by colleagues during this time. Mr Varadkar said that "the pandemic has transformed working practices, and many of those changes will be long-lasting. Although much of the impact of the pandemic has been negative, particularly for those who have lost jobs, income or whose businesses have been closed, it also offers an opportunity to make permanent changes for the better, whether that’s working more from home, having more time with the family, or more flexible working hours."

The code of practice includes the following:

  • The right of an employee to not have to routinely perform work outside their normal working hours.
  • The right not to be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours.
  • The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect (for example, by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours).

While breaking the code is not an offence in itself, doing so can be used as evidence in court proceedings.

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