Employees have right to disconnect from work from today

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Employees Have Right To Disconnect From Work From Today
People now have the right to disconnect from work.
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James Cox

From today people have the right to disconnect from work and not answer calls or emails outside of working hours.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has signed a new code of practice, which could lead to cases in the Workplace Relations Commission if it's broken.

People now have a right to not have to work outside of normal hours — and colleagues shouldn't routinely contact them at that time.

The Tánaiste is today also inviting views on his plans to put the right to request remote working into law.

Mr Varadkar said: “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.

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“I am announcing two things today. Firstly, I have signed a new Code of Practice giving all employees the Right to Disconnect. This is effective immediately. Secondly, I am opening a public consultation on the right to request remote working, inviting views from all on how this right can be enshrined in law.”

Right to Disconnect

The Right to Disconnect gives employees the right to switch off from work outside of normal working hours, including the right to not respond immediately to emails, telephone calls or other messages. There are three rights enshrined in the Code which comes into effect today:

  • 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 (eg by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours).

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