Proposed Law to Outlaw After-Hours Work Email and Calls
As with any great power, the righteous gifts of the internet come with a great responsibility and/or price. Take working from home, for example. You can do some or all of your work from home, and there are many positives - but the negative is a blurred line between work and home life. Should there be laws that govern the balance of your on and off work life?
In France, a set of laws that strictly divide the work and home life went into effect last year - with stiff penalties for employers that try to push or work around those boundaries. The law requires companies with 50 or more employees to establish a "blackout" time where employers would not be able to contact employees in order to respect their time away from work. European-based Volkswagen has blocked all work emails from employees mobile devices, and Diamler (Mercedes) has gone so far as to delete all emails sent from an employee during one of their vacations.
Now, this "no work at home," philosophy has come to our shores, and New York is it's landing zone. USA Today reports that a proposed bill in the Empire State would make it illegal for a company with 10 or more employees to require it's workers to answer after-hours emails or even answer the phone when a boss or manager calls, except in an "emergency." Violators would face fines from $250 per incident up to full compensation plus $2500 for a fired worker (if it's due to retaliation for not answering after-hours communications). There are obvious exceptions for on-call workers like doctors, companies with overseas business forced to deal with crazy time zones, etc. - and workers would be able to choose to respond if they wanted to.