Due to the pandemic and evolving technology, the nature of work and the workplace have significantly changed. More and more organizations have permanently included remote or hybrid work arrangements as an option available to employees. The pandemic made remote work essential, and technology has facilitated performing work from any location.
right to disconnect
The right to disconnect refers to an employee’s right to disengage from work-related communications and other work outside of their normal working hours. Ontario enacted changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to enforce this right in organizations with 25 or more employees. The changes received royal assent on December 2, 2021, and require compliance by June 2, 2022.
At first blush, the right to disconnect may appear to be a labour and employment issue. However, IT departments will have significant roles to play in enabling compliance with the letter and spirit of the new requirements.
Organizations will be looking to their IT departments to implement technological or automated solutions. Employers around the globe have implemented solutions including the following, to comply with legislated or voluntary right to disconnect policies:
- Taking mail servers offline after business hours. Anyone emailing the organization receives an automated message that the server is
On October 25, 2021, Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, was introduced into the Ontario legislature, received second reading on November 3, 2021, and was sent to the Standing Committee on Social Policy that same day. I will be discussing provisions in Schedule 2 that pertain to the proposed "Right to Disconnect."