As work from home becomes an indefinite reality for many workers across the globe, various governments are considering whether to implement the right to disconnect. Back in 2016, before the pandemic, France introduced legislation allowing employees to turn off their work-related electronic devices outside of regular business hours. Should something like this be implemented in Canada? The Canadian government is currently considering whether the right to disconnect should be legislated.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work, many employees are feeling overwhelmed, as there’s no separation between work and home, and most employers are not doing anything to address employee burnout and mental health. The right to disconnect means employees would have the right to disengage from all work-related activities outside of mandated office hours, such as not checking emails, turning off the work phone, and so on.
While it might be helpful to have some sort of legislation regarding the right to disconnect, the devil is always in the details, and meaningful change is not going to happen overnight. We also need a shift in mindset and workplace culture. In particular, there needs to be a workplace culture that is considerate of the work-life integration to ensure employees are not pushed to the point of burnout.
We will continue to monitor the situation. In the meantime, to learn more, you can read my interview by Legal Matters Canada on this topic.
If you are an employer looking to implement policies within the workplace regarding remote work arrangements and expectations, we can assist you with preparing and implementing such policies. If you are an employee concerned about your rights, we can advise and represent you to ensure you get what you are entitled to.