All employers are likely already aware that since April 1 all employees have a ‘Right to Disconnect’.
The recently introduced Code of Practice for employers and employees on the Right to Disconnect has the following main considerations for employers:
• A right not to routinely perform work outside normal working hours, including not engaging in work-related emails, calls, or messages
• A right not to be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours, and
• A duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect by not routinely emailing, messaging, or calling them outside normal working hours.
As a result of all of the above, employers are now obliged to:
• Provide employees with all of the information in the Right to Disconnect Code
• Engage proactively with employees and employee representatives to develop a Right to Disconnect Policy, in line with business and operational needs, and
• Encourage employees to become conscious of their own work pattern and aware of their work-related Wellbeing.
Right to Disconnect Policy for Employers
The Right to Disconnect Policy should allow for:
• Occasional legitimate situations where it may be necessary to contact staff outside of normal working hours
• Acknowledge that some businesses work across multiple time zones, and this may require some out-of-hours working, and
• Should take account of remote working arrangements.
The Code also provides guidance on:
• The tone and sense of urgency in written communications, suggesting that the tone should not place undue pressure on employees, and
• The extent to which there should be a culture of oversight in respect of the Right to Disconnect, perhaps even using email footers and pop up messages to remind employees that there is no requirement to reply to emails, messages or calls out of hours.
Please also note that we at HR for Better Workplaces can provide you with a draft Right to Disconnect Policy which could form the basis of your discussions with your employees. In this regard, please contact Frank at Frank@HRforBetterWorkplaces.ie or on 086-256-0082 or Laura at Laura@HRforBetterWorkplaces.ie or on 083-803-8277.