‘Right to disconnect’ urged

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IMPACT has written to ministers Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Denis Naughten seeking new laws that would give workers the ‘right to disconnect’ from work emails outside office hours. The union says work email has permeated workers’ free time, and that the boundary between professional and personal lives has become blurred for many employees.

The union has called for individual employers to be required to publish their expectations of employees in relation to work email. And it says no worker should be expected to respond to work emails between 9pm and 7am.

“The current situation, wherein employers operate on the unwritten assumption that employees are always available, encourages further blurring of work-life boundaries,” it says.

A ‘right to disconnect’ law was passed in France earlier this year amid concerns that existing workplace rights had become outdated in the digital era.