Right To Disconnect Bill: Boon For Employees If It Works

Right to Disconnect Work Calls
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Done with taking ‘emergency calls’ while you are on a vacation? Fed up of answering mails at wee hours of the day, when all you can think of is spending quality time with your family?

Well, the Right To Disconnect Bill, 2018, can be your silver lining.

Called as the Right to Disconnect Act, 2018, (if passed), the Bill proposes “to establish an Employees’ Welfare Authority to confer the right on every employee to disconnect from work-related telephone calls and emails beyond work hours and on holidays and right to refuse to answer calls and emails outside work hours and for all matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

Ultimately, there are no doubts about it, developments in technology have totally changed our attitude towards telecommunications. Thanks to revolutionary sip trunking providers and VoIP technology for instance, business telephones have never been more effective as a way of keeping channels of communication open.

However, should employees be expected to take business-related calls outside of regular working hours? First let us examine the Bill more closely.

The Bill states that:

Every employee shall have the right to disconnect out of work hours.

  1. The ‘right to disconnect’ means that while the employer may contact the worker after work hours, the employee is not obliged to reply or shall have right to refuse to answer such calls; and
  2. In case an employee refuses to reply any call during out-of-work hours, such employee shall not be subject to any disciplinary action by the employer.

To know how things might shape up in the office environment, we spoke to office-goers and employers to gauge their pulse.

“I think the lawmakers today are coming up with such great suggestions that sometimes are commendable. Although the intended purpose of the Bill cannot be questioned and thinking about the welfare of the employee is a must to increase productivity and maintain a healthy working environment, the practicality and implementation on personal levels can jeopardise its entire purpose, comments Praveen Singh, gauging the practicality of the proposed Bill.

“There are not many organisations who, even after the Bill becomes an Act, will actually take cognisance and change their entire working setup. The work calls and emails become unavoidable and today, even replying to a WhatsApp group message has become mandatory. In such a situation, it is, however, suggested to either come up with stern regulations to force employers to implement the Bill on the workforce or else this Bill will just become and an agenda to quarrel over in Parliament and then lie as a piece of paper in the house cupboards,” he adds.

“Such things should come as a human concern from the employers rather than making it mandatory and forcing it down people’s throat,” shares Rajni Shah, a Finance Associate.

“Employers today take very little cognisance to provide their employees with a list of ‘employee-friendly’ guidelines. With so much of awareness today, there are certain groups and ‘welfare committees’ already created within the office that claim to help in complaint redressal, however, they aren’t always fool-proof.

“But, its better to go the high way if someone doesn’t understand the meaning of being on leave or holiday. Untimely phone calls specially when you are co-ordinating with foreign clients or those last-minute changes request kill the vacation bug. Imagine sitting in a sea facing resort and co-ordinating with a client on a sunny day, while everyone is soaking in the sun, yes, that has happened to me and trust me, it isn’t the best feeling,” she adds.

“Looking into the social micros that employees today face like work stress, sleeplessness, less time to socialise etc, coming up with such Bills can help deal with certain psychological ailments as well,” says Rahul Paranjpe, team leader at a city-based corporate setup. “I understand how annoying it is to even see your bosses’ email or number flashing on the mobile screen, and it is always for work, always.

“But it is not always intentional or to annoy the employee. Sometimes there are some unavoidable situations that needs to be taken care of. We from our end try to make things work but what has to happen, should happen at the right time, right?” he adds.


Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur