What is the "right to disconnect" law and how does it affect remote workers? - | Hudson McKenzie

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What is the “right to disconnect” law and how does it affect remote workers?

A “right to disconnect” refers to allowing employees to detach and disconnect from work outside of their contracted work hours. This is particularly effective for remote workers who potentially struggle to switch off as the physical distance between work and home is in most cases non-existent. Subsequently, this can lead to burnout and many employees being unmotivated and unproductive. 

As a result, some countries around the world have incorporated the “right to disconnect” law into employment and labour laws. The way in which countries have implemented this law varies, however, the concept is the same. The law aims to ensure that employers are giving employees enough time to wind down after work. This includes not engaging in work communication such as emails or calls out of hours. 

In a new bill, Ontario, Canada has recently adopted the right to disconnect law for employers with more than 25 employees. France was the first country to implement this law and leaves it down to unions and employers to come up with a right to disconnect policy that fits with the particular company. This could include ensuring employees activate an out of office to notify people of their work hours and make sure communications are monitored so that employees are not contacting people outside of work hours. Spain and Portugal have also incorporated this principle into their laws.   

With many people working from home more than ever now due to the pandemic, the line between work and home life has become blurred. It is therefore important for employees to be prompted to switch off so that they are able to be more productive day-to-day. The right to disconnect law is there to make a positive impact on remote workers to ensure that they are protected and do not receive pressures from employers or customers to constantly be available. 

It is likely that remote working is the future of work culture in many countries around the world. It is therefore predicted that many countries may implement the right to disconnect law as part of employment laws moving forwards. 

Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.

The information provided does not amount to legal advice.