Humphreys mulls over new laws governing work emails outside work hours

Humphreys mulls over new laws governing work emails outside work hours

The Government is looking at new laws to give workers the right to switch off from emails while on holidays.

Business Minister Heather Humphreys is looking at legislation similar to laws introduced in France in 2017 which stipulates that companies with more than 50 staff must set out hours when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails.

French law also stipulates that employees have the right to disconnect in a bid to promote a healthy work-life balance among staff. The Government now believes there should be clearly defined rules given the “increasing digitisation of the workforce”.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Ms Humphreys said: “As part of their work programme, I will ask the Interdepartmental Steering Group to examine the French approach referenced by the deputy.

Given the increasing digitalisation of the workforce, I believe it is important from a work-life balance perspective that there are clearly defined guidelines regarding workers’ rights to switch off after office hours.

She said the rules set out in France allows for “tangible benefits for employees including improving their work-life balance”.

“It also provides solutions for those who would otherwise take unpaid parental leave but cannot afford to do so,” she said.

The law also states that every employee “shall be entitled to a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each period of 24 hours during which he or she works for his or her employer”.


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