The workplace is taking a new turn, and the ‘Right to Disconnect’ is the newest development. This is a human right about how persons are able to get their own time away from work. This right proposes that workers should not be engaged in any electronic communications related to work after work hours. These communications include emails and messages. Despite these digital devices helping at work, they cause interference of home life.
Proposed Law in France
The labor committee of the French Supreme Court introduced the right to disconnect in France. The decision was enacted on 2nd October 2001. It stated that ‘an employee is not obliged to accept either working at home or to bring his files or working tools at home.’ The ruling rendered by the Supreme Court in 2004 was that it will not be considered as misconduct if an employee cannot be reached through his cell phone outside working hours.
The El Khomri law, which is a national legislation that is related to employment, was passed by the France government with an aim of reforming the French peoples’ working conditions. The right to disconnect was included in the French labor code.
The move by the government of France to adopt the right to disconnect in their labor code was as a result of the 2015 report in the effects of digital technology in labor. The minister of labor in France, Myriam El Khomri presented the report. This was after the former minister had sought information concerning the effects of the digital transformation on labor. This report recommended that employees should be allowed to balance work and private life.
This would have a positive effect on workers morale and quality of private life. Cognitive and emotional overload was also addressed in the report. The report stated that IT would lead to fatigue as a result of being regularly connected to work. The France government viewed that introduction of the right to disconnect would help improve the health of employees in their country. Adoption of the right into law helped in positively changing the workplace and also helped recognize that work and private lives had been affected by digital technologies. A study done in 2016 after the introduction of the law showed that 37% of employees used digital tools outside working hours and 62% of employees wanted it to be regulated.
There is a need to incorporate this right into the law of various countries. The right can also be included in a company’s policy. This may result in increasing the productivity of employees. Many European countries have embraced this right. A country like France, being the pioneers of the right to disconnect, have enacted the right in their law and also their companies.
Will other countries follow the suit?
Some nations are likely to follow the footsteps of France to enact this law. Germany did not have actual laws concerning the right to disconnect though some large German companies like Volkswagen implemented the policy in 2011. Italy has also entered the right to disconnect in its law. The Philippines have also embraced the right in their country.