Right To Disconnect Ontario Explainedachkarlaw-admin
The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to how we view the workplace, and with it, the demand for a more flexible work environment, where employees can work from anywhere. As the economy seeks revitalization in the wake of these changes, it becomes crucial to understand and implement the Right to Disconnect Ontario. This article provides an overview of the disconnect law, how it came into effect through Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, and who it affects. Employers and employees need to work together to strike the right balance between work and personal life, addressing issues like burnout and constant accessibility.
The Right to Disconnect: Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021
On December 2, 2021, the Ontario government passed Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, incorporating recommendations from the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee (OWRAC). This bill not only bans non-compete agreements but also requires certain employers to establish a Right to Disconnect policy all its employees.
Obligations of the Right to Disconnect Ontario
The Right to Disconnect policy introduces several obligations that employers must adhere to:
- Declaring the date the policy was prepared and any subsequent updates.
- Providing employees with a copy of the policy within 30 days of its preparation or any updates.
- Ensuring new employees receive a copy within 30 days of their first day of employment.
- Retaining each disconnecting from work policy for three years after it ceases to be in effect.
Presently, there are no specific requirements outlining what the policy should contain, allowing employers the flexibility to customize it to suit their industry and workforce.
Understanding the Right to Disconnect Ontario
The Right to Disconnect addresses the concerns of many employees, who experience work-related “burnout” due to constant accessibility. According to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, section 21.1.1, this policy allows employees to be free from work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video conferences, or other messages, outside of their regular working hours.
Who Is Affected by the Right to Disconnect Ontario?
The Right to Disconnect policy applies to employers with 25 or more employees. While working remotely from home provides flexibility, it also blurs the line between work and personal life, necessitating this policy to safeguard employees’ right to disconnect from work during personal time.
Deadline for Implementing the Right to Disconnect Ontario
Expanding employers reaching 25 employees or more on January 1 in any year after 2022 must have a written disconnecting-from-work policy in place by March 1. Similarly, growing companies with 25 or more employees have until June 2, 2022, to implement this same policy (Employment Standards Act, 2000, section 21.1.2 (5)).
Considerations for Employers
A clear written policy on the ideal right to disconnect law is yet to be provided. Therefore, employers should be attentive to potential regulations and amendments to ensure their policy complies with future requirements. Industries vary, requiring customized approaches to drafting and applying a written policy. Conducting workshops and training can help employees understand the policy better and its proper enforcement.
Considerations for Employees
As an employee, understanding your employer determines the right to disconnect expectations specific to your employment is essential. Familiarize yourself with your responsibilities, work hours, communication guidelines, and overtime provisions outlined in the policy. Seeking written clarification from your employer if there’s no formal employment agreement will help you navigate the policy more effectively.
The Right to Disconnect policy represents a crucial step towards achieving a healthy work-life balance in today’s dynamic work environment. By providing employees with the freedom to disconnect from work-related communications outside of their regular working hours, this policy aims to combat burnout and improve overall well-being. For employers, implementing the policy responsibly and in compliance with legal obligations is essential. Seeking guidance and support from an employment law firm can ensure the policy’s successful implementation, tailored to the specific needs of each workplace. By fostering a workplace culture that respects employees’ boundaries and prioritizes their well-being, organizations can create a more productive and harmonious work environment for all.
Whether you are an employer or an employee needing assistance with reviewing or drafting an employment agreement, our team of experienced employment lawyers and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help.
- Does Your Workplace Have A Right To Disconnect Policy Yet
- Changes To The ESA – The Right To Disconnect And The Rule Against Non-Compete Agreements
- Right To Disconnect And Independent Contractors
- When Is A Worker An Independent Contractor
- Independent Contractors And Preventing Legal Disputes
(Updated August 1, 2023)