21st December 2020
WRC designing legally admissible Code of Practice on Right to Disconnect
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD today (Friday 18th December 2020) welcomed a WRC public consultation on a new Code of Practice which will give employees the Right to Disconnect.
Earlier this year, the Tánaiste asked the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to design a Code of Practice on an employee’s right to disconnect from work, which would, once approved by the Minister, be admissible in evidence in proceedings before a court.
The Tánaiste said
“We want remote working to become a bigger part of life after Covid. If done right, the benefits will be huge. However, it is vitally important that the existing rights and entitlements that employees enjoy are maintained and that an appropriate work-life balance is struck.
“Earlier this year, I asked the WRC to develop a Code of Practice to ensure that both employers and employees are aware of their requirements and entitlements and understand how they apply, especially in a remote working scenario. It’s really important that we get this right so that employees can switch off from work properly.”
Once the Code is approved by the Minister, it will be admissible in evidence in proceedings before a court, the Labour Court or a WRC Adjudication Officer. As such, a Code of Practice, apart from providing practical guidance, has considerable standing in the context of the resolution or investigation by these bodies of industrial relations or employment rights disputes.
The Tánaiste concluded:
Working from home has become the norm for many this past year and although technology has meant that we have been able to stay connected in a way that wasn’t possible years ago, it also has it’s downsides. This new Code will help all workers strike a better balance between home and work life.”
Notes for Editors
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is undertaking a public consultation to inform the drafting of the Code which will, inter alia, set out guidance for employees and employers with regard to best practice and approaches to employee disengagement outside normal working hours.
In this regard, the WRC invites submissions on this matter: such submissions should be submitted to the WRC by 17.00 on 22 January 2021.
Such submissions, marked ‘‘Right to Disconnect’’ should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Finbarr Kiely, Workplace Relations Commission, Lansdowne House, Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4, D04A3A8.
As part of the consultation process, the WRC may consult with parties to clarify submissions received or with certain key stakeholders.
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