A new bill has paved its way into Congress giving employees the “right to disconnect” after work hours. The proposal entitled House Bill No. 9735 was filed by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Tuesday.
Under the HB, employers will be banned from having any office-related communications with their employees when office hours have already ended.
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The HB tends to institutionalize and modify Presidential Decree No. 442, or the Labor Code, including employee’s right to disconnect after work hours.
Rep. Rodriguez highlighted that the advancement of technology has helped people easily connect with work and business at any time of the day but this notion also has an implication on the part of the employees.
Problems that lie in working beyond work hours for the employees such as replying to emails, replying to messages on their phones, and answering calls, among others will pose additional stress to employees and destroy their work-life balance.
He further added that there are studies that was conducted where anticipatory stess and expectation of answering after-hours e-mails will drain employees which will lead to burnout or the physical, psychological and emotional distress caused by a total inability to rest and diminished work- family balance. All of which are important for individual health and well-being.
Morever, Rep. Rodriguez mentioned a law in France specifically created to respect for rest periods and a balance between work, family, and personal life.
The proposed bill is designed for employees who work in the private sector but the bill will oblige the employer to set their terms and exceptions. This is in lieu with the rules and regulations administered by the Secretary of Labor and Employment.
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As of the moment, there is no similar proposal for employees who are covered by civil service regulations.
The proposal clears out that workers who will avoid or disregard communications outside regular work hours will face no disciplinary repercussions.
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