Right-To-Disconnect Law Introduced

(RightIsRight.co) – Thinking about hard-working class Americans wanting to spend more time with their families and to rest after a long day at work, a new California bill seeks to stop employers from contacting their workers outside regular work hours.

State Assemblymember Matt Haney brought forth the AB-2751 bill, which strives to grant California employees a “right to disconnect” from work-related calls, texts, and emails after hours.

The bill also requires California companies to clearly define compensated hours and enforce a company-wide policy adhering to these laws.

The state’s labor commission could probe and penalize employers for invading on employees’ personal time.

Haney remarked, “Work has changed drastically compared to what it was just 10 years ago. Smartphones have blurred the boundaries between work and home life.”

Moreover, he expressed that “Workers shouldn’t be punished for not being available 24/7 if they’re not being paid for 24 hours of work. People have to be able to spend time with their families without being constantly interrupted at the dinner table or their kids’ birthday party, worried about their phones and responding to work.”

Exceptions to the bill include cases such as collective bargaining, emergencies, and scheduling needs.

Haney emphasized the bill’s adaptability to various California businesses and employment types, which consider sectors with on-call work or extended hours. He noted that many large California employers already adhere to similar laws abroad, which enhances workforce attraction.

However, the California Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, citing concerns about rigid work schedules and limiting employer-employee communication outside emergencies.

Ashley Hoffman, Senior Policy Advocate at the California Chamber of Commerce, expressed worries about the bill’s impact on workplace flexibility and California’s diverse industries stating:

“It fails to consider California’s longstanding laws regarding hours worked, exempt employees, and fails to account for the uniqueness of different industries and professions.”

She added, “It would prevent the Governor and State agencies from contacting their staff outside of normal work hours, which would lead to basic functions of the state being imperiled.”

Meanwhile, the bill awaits discussion in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee in the following weeks.

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