California Contemplates “Right to Disconnect” Bill: What It Means for Workers

California workers might need to prepare for a worker revolution, as Assembly Bill 2751 – the right to disconnect bill – is being considered by lawmakers. Read on to find out more about the bill.

California’s New Legislation

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New legislation being debated in California could finally see the end of bosses harassing workers long after the work day has ended.

Ending After-Hours Hassle

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We’ve all been there – finished work at 5 pm on a Friday, and your boss is phoning, texting, or emailing you at 7 pm asking questions – trying to get you to engage with “just a little” more work before you can mentally log out for the weekend.

A Worker’s Dream Come True

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Well, Assembly Bill 2751, also known as the right to disconnect bill, could finally see an end to all of that.

Breaking the Chains

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Inspired by similar legislation in Australia and France, the bill would force companies to clearly define their expectations regarding after-hours availability, and they would face fines starting at $100 for any violations.

On-Call and Emergency Allowances

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This bill wouldn’t affect roles that require workers to be on-call, and bosses wouldn’t be fined if they were contacting workers over legitimate emergencies.

Weekend Freedom

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In the years following the pandemic, many employers have become accustomed to expecting workers to respond outside of work hours.

Remote Work and After-Hours Expectations

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Remote work has blurred the boundaries between work time and personal life, and this “always online” culture has taken hold in a lot of firms.

The Toll of Always Being Online

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Obviously, this has led to employees feeling like they’re being exploited for free labor and a great deal of worker burnout.

Protecting Personal Time

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That’s what happened in Australia, where right-to-disconnect laws are currently being codified into national law and should be implemented by August.

From France to California

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The right to disconnect was originally a French policy created to improve workers’ quality of life by separating their work and private lives.

Insights from Right to Disconnect Studies

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Studies have consistently shown that the right to disconnect policies has a beneficial effect on productivity, workers’ happiness, and well-being.

Recent research by Eurofound discovered that 92% of workers at firms with the right to disconnect policies were happy with their work-life balance, and a study by the University of Coahuila found that the policies can improve “competitiveness, productivity, and creativity.”

The Haney Initiative

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Democrat Matt Haney has introduced Assembly Bill 2751, and advocates are hopeful that it could mean an influx of skilled workers to the state, as well as improved employee retention in California businesses.

Policy in Progress

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As the bill is currently written, it “would require a public or private employer to establish a workplace policy that provides employees the right to disconnect from communications from the employer during nonworking hours, except as specified.”

Stressing Out

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Studies have shown that many workers experience stress and exhaustion from feeling obligated to stay connected outside of their scheduled work times.

Overworked and Overwhelmed

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A 2022 YouGov poll revealed that over half of workers feel pressured to check work-related communications after hours, while a Pew Research study highlighted that a significant portion of Americans regularly check work emails during their off time.

The Fear of Disconnecting

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This is partly due to fears that failing to engage with work-related matters outside of work hours could lead to employees being ignored for promotions and at a higher risk if there were to be layoffs.

Employee Empowerment

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Assembly Bill 2751 wants to totally eliminate that stress and allow workers room to breathe outside of the office.

Resistance Ahead

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Despite the potential benefits for employee well-being, the bill is not a sure thing.

It has to go through several stages in the legislative process, and there are worries it will face resistance from businesses, who are worried about how it could affect their productivity and ability to innovate.

New York’s Failed Attempt

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This kind of legislation was proposed in New York in 2018 but wasn’t successful.

Work Evolution

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In a statement, Matt Haney said, “Work has changed drastically compared to what it was just 10 years ago. Smartphones have blurred the boundaries between work and home life. Workers shouldn’t be punished for not being available 24/7 if they’re not being paid for 24 hours of work.”

The post California Contemplates “Right to Disconnect” Bill: What It Means for Workers first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.