Lawmaker proposes bill that will make it legal for workers to ignore messages after work hours

Thursday, April 4, 2024
 – A lawmaker in California has proposed legislation that would give workers the right to ignore routine job messages outside of work hours.

Assemblyman Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) is introducing a state bill to create a "right-to-disconnect" law that guarantees workers uninterrupted personal and family time, free from calls or messages after work hours.

Assembly Bill 2751 would give workers the right to ignore work communications except in cases of emergencies or schedule changes.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the law would also order workers to create and publish plans to implement the new law into their policies and enable the California Labor Commissioner’s Office to investigate and fine employers who routinely violate it.

The politician also told the news outlet that the bill would validate California as a "forward-thinking state" and it would follow similar policies in a dozen countries, including France.

If approved, Assembly Bill 2751 "would require a public or private employer to establish a workplace policy that provides employees the right to disconnect from communications from the employer during nonworking hours, except as specified."

This means that, except in cases of an emergency or for scheduling, workers would have the "right to ignore communications from the employer during nonworking hours," according to the text of the bill.

Nonworking hours would be established by a written agreement between the workers and the employer.

If the employer violates the rule, they could face a civil penalty of at least $100, according to the current version of the bill.

California would become the first state in the US to consider such a law. 

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