January 22, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

Teleworking puts forward the right to disconnect during an epidemic

Teleworking puts forward the right to disconnect during an epidemic

Danish Yusuf rarely rang the phone in his morning routine. He never scheduled a meeting with his employees.

And according to the director of the insurance company Zensurance, the absence of early morning interruptions is not a risk.

Many years ago, mr. Yusuf instructed his staff not to schedule meetings in the morning or after 5pm or to send messages or emails to encourage them to enjoy their personal lives.

I have a three and a half year old daughter. No one would schedule a meeting with me between 8 and 9 in the morning, because when I fed her breakfast and dropped her off at the daycare., He explains.

This is something my team knows and this is something my employees appreciate, Yusuf adds.

His politics took on new significance as the lines between work and personal lives became more blurred during the epidemic.

Workers are mostly online during the epidemic

Canadians working from home due to the epidemic need to more often balance the needs of their employers with family responsibilities.

It is very difficult to stay away from phone or computer because many people no longer go to the office and COVID-19 cases are on the rise again.

According to cybersecurity company NordLayer, by February 2021, the average number of hours Canadian workers connect to a computer has increased from 9 to 11 hours per day.

Most recently, 84% of the 1,304 Canadian workers polled by Hanover Research in a November report from human resources firm Seridian felt they were professionally tired over the past two years.

Others are curious to see how those figures change.

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States do not intend to wait until Ottawa enacts legislation

In 2016, France enacted a law giving workers the right to turn off electronic devices outside of office hours. The initiative prompted the Canadian federal government to begin thinking about whether to follow suit.

In October 2018, a committee is expected to analyze the issue and make recommendations to then-Labor Minister Philomena Tassi next spring.

Michelle Johnston, director of the new Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan Communications, has not confirmed whether these recommendations have been received. However, she indicated in an email that work on the file was ongoing.

But Ontario and Quebec are not waiting for federal regulations.

In Ontario, the new law on the right to disconnect was granted Royal consent on December 2, 2021. Companies that have 25 or more employees need to devise policies that will disconnect them from work over the next 6 months, without specifying examples for companies. Should be considered.

The hardest law to enforce

It’s a good looking bill, but it’s not a bite, Workly Lawyer Sunira Chowdhury Notes.

She believes it will be difficult for law enforcement to take the risk of triggering waves of complaints from people performing duties to the Ministry of Labor after their shift is over.

On the Quebec side, Quebec Solidair submitted a bill in December requiring companies to communicate every week. Periods during which the employee has the right to be disconnected from any communication related to his work.

Owners who fail to comply with this requirement must pay a $ 100,000 fine.

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Before the two provinces considered these new laws, they never called on Ms. Choudhury to formulate disconnect policies.

The policy effect on Disconnect really depends on the employees and whether they decide to implement it.

A quote from Suneera Chaudhary, Advocate

The Toronto lawyer was aware of companies that already had regulations around work-related communications, but were told that employees largely ignored those policies.

The risk posed by these new policies is that employers will write them down and put them in a drawer, never to see them again., She explains.

Companies will have to write new policies

For insurance company genesurance, this new law will not change much. These policies are already very clear and the Toronto company has hired on-call workers for emergencies such as cyber attacks or system interruptions.

However, for other businesses that do not have the policy, the process can be complicated.

These companies should identify situations where the out-of-hours communication ban does not apply as well as consider the consequences for employees who do not comply with the regulations.

Companies should also consider how expectations can change across segments and sectors.

It may be easier for a person in a factory to leave their job at work, for example, it may be more difficult for health care workers, lawyers, and real estate agents.

These workers are often on call and face problems after hours, which are resolved at short notice.

We do not have a work culture where our employees are plugged into their phones next to their beds at 9pm.

A quote from Anthony Cole, co-founder of Cloud DX

Anthony Cole, co-founder of Cloud DX Health-Tech Company, however, hopes that these complications will not stop employers from raising expectations about disconnecting.

For his part, he has long encouraged his company staff not to respond to work messages after office hours, except in emergencies where on-call staff cannot handle it.

“Our company aims to improve health care for everyone and that includes our employees,” he said. We can not ask them more.