14 April 2021
Ministers asked to give employees the legal ‘right to disconnect’
The union Prospect, which represents workers in the technology, science and engineering sectors, is asking Ministers to give employees working from home the legal “right to disconnect” to enhance their mental health. They would also like employers to be legally required to come to an agreement with their staff on when they cannot be contacted for work related matters.
It seems that many workers are in support of this approach, after an Opinium survey of nearly 2500 people found that two-thirds of those currently working remotely supported the policy and wished for the UK to replicate similar measures taken in Ireland, where an employee’s right to disconnect was introduced this month.
Prospect urged the UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, to make sure the policy is included in the employment bill promised in the government’s last Queen’s speech, which was delayed due to the Coronavirus.
Andrew Pakes, Prospect’s research director, said: “Including a right to disconnect in the employment bill would be a big step in redrawing the blurred boundary between home and work.”
A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: “The employment bill, when introduced, will deliver the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation, including measures that will help people to balance work with their personal lives.”