Employees now have the right not to answer work calls or emails outside of working hours 2 weeks ago

Employees now have the right not to answer work calls or emails outside of working hours

A new Code of Practice has been revealed.

Employees will have enhanced rights to disconnect from work outside normal working hours, under a new Code of Practice published by the Government on Thursday.

Advertisement

As part of The Right To Disconnect, employees will be entitled not to have to "routinely" perform work outside their normal working hours and can not be punished for refusing to attend to work matters outside of working hours.

It also includes the duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect, such as by not calling or emailing outside normal working hours.

Speaking on Thursday, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar said the code comes into effect immediately and applies to all types of employment regardless of whether you are working remotely or not.

“The pandemic has transformed working practices, and many of those changes will be long-lasting," Varadkar said.

"Although much of the impact of the pandemic has been negative, particularly for those who have lost jobs, income or whose businesses have been closed, it also offers an opportunity to make permanent changes for the better, whether that’s working more from home, having more time with the family, or more flexible working hours.

“I am announcing two things today. Firstly, I have signed a new Code of Practice giving all employees the Right to Disconnect. This is effective immediately. Secondly, I am opening a public consultation on the right to request remote working, inviting views from all on how this right can be enshrined in law.”

There is no formal right to disconnect in Irish or European law.

Advertisement

Failure to follow the code is not an offence in itself but it provides that in any proceedings before a Court, the Labour Court or the WRC, a Code of Practice shall be admissible in evidence and any provision of the Code which appears to the court, body or officer concerned to be relevant to any question arising in the proceedings shall be considered in determining that question.

If problems or issues arise, employees have the right to raise the matter with the Workplace Relations Commission.