From today, employees will have the right to ‘disconnect’ from work, outside of their normal working hours.
The government has published a new Code of Practice which will safeguard work-life balance by allowing employees to ‘switch off’ from their jobs outside of their normal working hours.
The new code of practice includes:
- 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).
Not following these provisions does not in itself constitute an offence under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. However, the same legislation maintains that in any proceedings before a court, the Labour Court or the WRC, a code of practice shall be admissible in evidence.
Employers must take into consideration the amount of emails that they send out of hours and if sending the email at that time of day is absolutely necessary. As stated above, it is not an offence to do this, however there should not be an expectation for the employee to email the employer back, nor should they be penalised for not doing so.
In the current situation, looking after employee wellbeing and work-life balance are more important than ever. Employees are finding themselves in environments where it is difficult to differentiate their work life from their home life. This can lead to an increase in work-related stress and burnout.
This new Code of Practice also highlights the importance of keeping up-to-date timesheets for your employees. Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, Employers are obliged to keep records of their employees working time. Employers must have a record of the following employee working time:
- Start time
- Finish time
- Hours worked each day
- Hours worked each week
- Rest periods
The responsibility not only lays with the employer. Employees must ensure they complete a weekly timesheet and submit it to their Manager. In relation to the new Code of Practice, employees have a responsibility to respect others’ right to disconnect and also to inform their Manager if they are unhappy with their current working situation.
If you are an employer and you want to learn more about workplace wellbeing, Boyd HR offer a Workplace Wellbeing Survey and practicable solutions to improving your team’s wellbeing. We also can assist employers with setting up timesheets and giving them advice on what is required by legislation.
Please contact Boyd HR on 074 9123150, for more information.