Right to disconnect from work messages after office hours pushed
Workers may soon have the right not to respond to work-related emails and text messages beyond office hours should a pending bill at the House of Representative be passed into law.
In House 4721, Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo said employees have the “right to disconnect from work-related electronic communications after work hours” and that they should not be punished or reprimanded for doing so.
Castelo said responding to work-related messages has “detrimental effects on employees’ welfare and wellbeing,” as it “adds to stress and robs employees of the time they need to to rest and attend to personal and family matters.”
“It has also created a problem of undeclared labor as employees are forced to work, although indirectly, beyond work hours responding to e-mails, text messages and calls on mobile phones,” Castelo said. “It can lead to burnout — or the physical, psychological, and emotional distress caused by a total inability to rest and a diminished balance between work and family,” he explained, citing, studies in other countries.
“Because employees are expected to respond to emails and text messages after office hours, they are not able to separate themselves from work even when they are at home when they are supposed to be recovering,” he added.
The bill requires employers to establish the hours when workers are not supposed to send or answer work-related e-mails, text messages or phone calls. JE
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.