Union reiterates call for “right to disconnect” legislation

Issued : 8 November 2019

Union welcomes Minister’s call for policy, but says legislation is needed to tackle “always on” culture

The Financial Services Union has welcomed an announcement by Business Minister Heather Humphreys that she will bring forward a policy on the” right to disconnect” after Christmas. However, the union has said that policies alone will not be enough, and legislation in the area is required.

Gareth Murphy, Head of Industrial Relations and Campaigns with FSU said:

“While a policy on the right to discontent is welcome, we know from our experience that it will not be sufficient. The FSU is seeking negotiated agreements with employers on the “right to disconnect”, but we believe legislation will be required to tackle those employers who will not volunteer negotiated agreements with workers.”

“Independent research conducted by the University of Limerick has revealed that 1 in 4 workers in finance and technology are expected to answer calls and emails after working hours. The extent of this problem cannot solved by “opt in”, voluntary policies alone. Our experience is that “opt in” policies are often “opted out” in practise, and so legislation is required to compel employers to act. University of Limerick research found that only 7% of workers surveyed said that their employer was making any effort to prevent over use of technology.”

The FSU says it will continue to campaign for legislation into the New Year. Thousands have signed an FSU petition directed at the Minister at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/i-support-the-right-to-disconnect/.