Right to Disconnect
A new code of practice on the “right to disconnect” has been signed into effect from the beginning of this month. Following public consultation which concluded this January 2021, the new Code of Practice comes into effect immediately. It applies to all types of employment, including remote working.
The code will set out guidance for employees and employers regarding best practice and approaches to employee disengagement outside normal working hours. This code focuses on best practice instead of applying further legislation as the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 already provides a very effective and defined entitlement to disconnect.
While failure to follow a code prepared under the Workplace Relations Act 2015 is not an offence, the law provides that in any proceedings before a court, the Labour Court or the WRC, a code of practice shall be admissible in evidence.
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:
- 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 (for example: by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours)
Join us on 22 April for our Employment Law Seminar, where we will examine HR and Health and Safety topics including what this Code means for your business. Visit here for full programme details and booking.