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Remote working puts focus on our ‘right to disconnect’

With our office exodus comes concern over working hours

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Always on: The WRC’s annual report received over 6,000 complaints about working hours (Stock image)

Always on: The WRC’s annual report received over 6,000 complaints about working hours (Stock image)

Always on: The WRC’s annual report received over 6,000 complaints about working hours (Stock image)

As the Dáil debates the Working from Home (Covid-19) Bill and the Government gets ready to publish their strategy on remote working , should employers consider putting in place a ‘right to disconnect’ policy.

AIB and the Financial Services Union have agreed a ‘right to disconnect’ policy, the first of its kind in Ireland. The policy outlines a number of measures, including avoiding lunchtime meetings, expectations that staff will only check and send emails during normal working hours and turning on ‘out of office’ messages when employees finish work.

So, if an employer is considering their own disconnect policy, what is the legislative position in relation to such a policy? The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 implemented the European Working Time Directive into Irish law, providing employees with various protections to ensure they were not working excessive hours and that they were receiving sufficient breaks.


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