NYC Proposes ‘Right to Disconnect’ Law

A New York City lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would prohibit companies from requiring employees to check their work email after they leave the office.

The Right to Disconnect Bill would allow executives to contact employees after hours, but would prohibit companies from firing an employee for failing to respond to an email or text message outside of normal working hours. The bill, which would apply only to private companies located in New York City, does not make exceptions for medical professionals or salaried workers without set schedules.

“This is a serious law, and I think that in the form that it is right now, I can’t imagine that it’s going to pass, but stranger things have happened,” said Kyle Reyes, CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing, during an interview with Fox News. 

The bill, which was introduced Thursday by New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D), is similar to legislation passed in Germany, France, Italy, and the Philippines. It is designed to reduce stress and improve work-life balance.

“While technology has increased access to people and ideas, it’s also made it possible for employees to be on-call 24/7,” argues Espinal. “We need to establish clear boundaries for employees so they can maintain a healthy work-life balance and live without fear of retaliation for not answering work communication after work hours.”

Espinal has a valid point, but as Reyes points out, work-life balance isn’t something you can legislate. “Work-life balance is something that you have to achieve through accepting personal responsibility and taking accountability for your own schedule and your own career path.”

Reyes works 80 hours per week, but says that his hours are his decision. “If I go a night or two without checking emails at home I’m going into work the next day insanely stressed, as are many of my employees, because all that means is you have all of these emails to catch up on the next morning.”

The Right to Disconnect Bill could also interfere with employees’ efforts to achieve a promotion, says Reyes. “Any time the government puts its hand in a business and takes away from the ability for an employee to outshine and outperform and show their own skills and abilities, we’re making a mistake.”

Editor’s note: The law will discourage ambition and hard work, the very qualities that built America in the first place. Entrepreneurs won’t be able to function this way at all, nor will employees of small entrepreneurial companies. And what happens when New York companies have to do business with the West Coast? The time difference will make it different. And of course, overseas business will be nearly impossible. This is a stupid proposal from a stupid person.

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