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Guidelines on right to disconnect needed urgently – Deering

31st December 2019 - Pat Deering TD

With the increasing digitalisation of work, it is important that guidelines on the right to disconnect are drawn up urgently, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Carlow/Kilkenny TD, Pat Deering, said, “The Government has committed to examining the issue of the right to disconnect and is consulting with employer bodies.

“It is vital that guidelines on the rights of employees not to respond to work calls and emails outside of their contracted working hours are drawn up to act as a guide for both workers and employers.

“With smartphones and other technology improving at a startling rate, we all essentially have an office in our pocket and, as such, it can be hard to switch off from work and enjoy our time at home.

“But this downtime from work is imperative. We must allow people to fully switch off and engage with their family time without feeling stressed at the thought of work emails piling up.

“Businesses need to be proactive about this issue also and should have an agreed organisational approach to out of hours emails and calls and a system which ensures people are not obliged to work outside of their contract.

“I recently raised this issue with my colleague, the Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys, who confirmed that as part of Future Jobs Ireland, the Government is examining the potential approaches to ensuring the right to disconnect is protected and promoted among employees.

“While the Government has committed to looking at legislation introduced in France, the Minister has stated that she does not necessarily believe legislation is the way to go in Ireland.

“Indeed, we have significant worker protections laid down in law here which are applicable to this area.

“However, I do believe that we need definitive guidelines for employers and employees so that the situation under Irish law is clear for everyone – and this should be done as quickly as possible,” Deputy Deering concluded.

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