The Workers Union is calling for action to be taken against companies that contact workers out of hours.
The announcement comes as news filtered in from continental Europe, where the Portuguese government has legislated to ensure that employers ‘respect the privacy of the worker.’ The package of measures includes a ban on managers texting, phoning or emailing outside of working hours. Employers are also required to desist from remotely monitoring their staff, and must also contribute to the costs of running a home office.
The move follows an earlier, pre-Pandemic precedent set in 2017 in France, where a new labour law gave workers the right to “disconnect” from phones, computers and other electronic devices once they’d finished their normal working hours.
A spokesperson for The Workers Union, said: ‘In recent months there’s been increasing scrutiny about the way that British workers are treated by some employers. Although workers are still protected by the law limiting working hours, there’s little protection available to shield them from out of hours harassment. We need politicians and business leaders to take a proper, serious look at the situation before we trigger a mental health crisis in our workforce.’
The Workers Union says…
The change from the established model of office work to a new dawn in flexible working was not driven by legislators or by munificent gestures from business. It came about because the pandemic hit humanity swiftly and with little warning. We were forced to convert our homes from oases of respite, to fully-functioning home offices. That this would blur the line between work and home life was probably inevitable. However, company chiefs should not be allowed to use these developments as a cunning way of squeezing uncompensated time out of beleaguered employees.
Workers need red lines in place, backed by legislation, to protect them from being contacted out of hours. They need more robust rules around monitoring to reflect the new reality in which we find ourselves.
As a nation we have not moved to debate these issues with enough speed or clarity. Now we must grasp the nettle – before events overtake us.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you