Employment Law

What does the right to disconnect mean for employees?

Interview Summary

Ontario has recently introduced legislation concerning an employee’s right to disconnect along with other inclusions regarding employee rights. Will employers have to implement new workplace policies? What obligations will employees still have?

An Ottawa employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, spoke with Scott Thompson on this issue and more about the employer and employee dynamics.

Interview Notes

What can the government do in terms of legislation and employees’ right to disconnect?

The Ontario government appears to be focusing on employees’ ability to be on call after regular working hours. Due to the pandemic, many employees who have been working remotely have been working long hours as they are at home and available.

Is this new legislation more concerned with employers monitoring their employees?

At this time we are still waiting for more details but it does not appear that this legislation is more employee-friendly and not concerned with employer monitoring. The goal for this legislation appears to be to have employees be less overworked and underpaid. In order for this legislation to be successful, employees have to participate and hold employers accountable.

Has working from home caused more privacy concerns for employees?

In some aspects it can feel that there has been some privacy given up however even when employees have worked from the office, employers were always permitted to check employee productivity. The change in environment and work structure has exacerbated employee concerns of privacy that might not be warranted.

Employee Rights in a Hybrid Work Model

Is the workplace landscape changing as a result of remote work?

There does seem to have been a very significant shift in terms of which employees can work from home and many workplaces have moved to a hybrid work model. This type of legislation is only going to gain more prominence. There are laws in place that can apply to this change however there will probably need to be more adaptable.

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