The Irish Workplace Relations Commission has published a code of practice covering the right to disconnect. The guidelines are for employers and employees and cover employee disengagement outside of regular working hours. The guidelines apply to all forms of employment, including remote working, office working, and mobile workers.
The code outlines three main elements of the right to disconnect: The right of employees to not perform work duties outside of standard working hours: The right to not be penalized for not attending work-related matters outside of standard working hours: The duty to respect other people’s right to disconnect.
The new code complements existing rights and obligations in Ireland. The guidelines accept that a joint approach is needed to create cultures where employees feel comfortable disconnecting from work at the end of the day. The code also outlines guidelines on how to create a right to disconnect policy at work and how employers and employers can manage this right and raise concerns over it.
Failing to adhere to the code won’t be considered an offence, but Irish employment legislation does provide that a code of practice is admissible as evidence in matters taken to court. Any aspect of the code that is relevant to the matter of the proceedings may be taken into account when deciding an outcome.
The new rules come on the heels of Ireland passing paid parental leave entitlements that extend parent leave and Parent Benefit Payments in the country to five weeks. These changes have come into effect under the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021. The change applies retroactively, meaning that parents who took two weeks leave before the act passed are entitled to a further three weeks off.