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California May Grant Workers the Right to Ignore After-Hours Calls & Emails From the Boss
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By News
Published 2 weeks ago on
April 2, 2024

California may become the first U.S. state to pass a "right-to-disconnect" bill allowing employees to ignore work-related communications after hours. (Shutterstock)

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California could become the first U.S. state to pass legislation granting employees the right to ignore work-related communications outside of their regular working hours.

The proposed bill, AB 2751, was announced by Assemblyman Matt Haney, a Democrat from San Francisco. The bill aims to establish a “right-to-disconnect” for employees, allowing them to ignore emails, calls, and texts from their employers after work hours.

“If you’re working a 9-to-5 job, you shouldn’t be expected to be working 24/7. That should be available to everyone, regardless of the existence of smartphones,” Haney said.

The bill is designed to address the increasingly blurred lines between work and personal life, exacerbated by the ubiquity of smartphones. Haney argues that employees should not be expected to be available around the clock unless they are being compensated for 24-hour work.

The proposed legislation does include exceptions for emergencies, scheduling discussions, and collective bargaining agreements. It also allows for industries with irregular hours or on-call requirements to contact employees outside of regular hours, provided that on-call time is compensated and non-contact hours are clearly defined in employment contracts.

Opposition from the Chamber of Commerce

However, the California Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, arguing that it conflicts with existing laws and fails to consider professions where higher compensation is provided in exchange for increased availability. Critics also argue that the bill could limit the flexibility in work hours that many employees value.

The bill follows similar legislation enacted in France in 2017 and other countries.

Read more at MSN News.

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