Right to Disconnect Bill 2018

Monday, January 14, 2019 3:30 AM

Right to Disconnect Bill 2018

Background Context

To help employees perform strike in a better way for work-life balance and minimise stress from strik, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule (daughter of Mr. Sharad Pawar) has introduced the Right to Disconnect Bill 2018 (Private Member’s Bill) in the lower house of people, Lok Sabha.

Important Features and Highlights of the Bill

  • Objective: The Right to Disconnect Bill focuses at “reducing tension (stress) and segregation between an employees/workers/labours (public or private) personal and professional life.”
  • The Bill if approved gives employee “Right to not respond or answer to phone calls or any other kind of communications” initiated from employers office after office/work hours.
  • This Bill specifies/mentions the establishment of an Employee Welfare Authority, which is intended to publish/issue or produce the impact of long working hours on employees and use of digital tools (mobile, computer etc.) during these hours. This Right to Disconnect Bill 2018 furthermore will produce a charter defining Employee-Employer
  • The Bill requires the setting up of an Employee Welfare Authority , which will publish reports related to the impact employees have from prolonged use of digital tools beyond office hours and it will also create a charter defining employee-employer communication (debate, dialogue and conference).
  • As mentioned in the Bill, organizations with more than ten (10) employees will regularly communicate/dialogue the specific terms with their employees, produce their own charterm and establish an Employee Welfare Committee comprising of representative of the company’s employee pool.

Concerns and Everyday challenges faced by Employee pool

  • The Work-Life balance and Dynamic Business demands has become cumbersome but at sametime is utmost priority. Multinational Companies (MNC) in India attracts many employees with attractive pay packages but this package comes with added stressful life, anxiety, sleep deprivation and deadly adverse effect on employees health.
  • These MNC are ruled by corporate Mafias (profit seekers) who often ask employees to work extra hours without any added compensations. These MSC’s create the situation that indirectly forces employee pool to work overnights, straight 12 hrs, 14 hrs, 16 hrs, 18 hrs or sometime 72 hours shift with nominal break.
  • Many a times these workers follow Carrying their work at home culture, which often end into long working hours session.
  • This Always ON work culture often gets unnoticed, cloaked with Increased Benefit, Convenience in Place of work, Promotions.

Need and significance of the Bill

  • Being at workplace (standing or sitting) for eight hours or more is often very stressful for any individual to answer work-related calls after working hours.
  • According to some researchers and experts, stress acquired form work is often leads to plenty of physical and mental illnesses, the anxiety, depression, hypertension are the ideal candidates. These often go unnoticed and undiagnosed (often due to lack of time to visit physicians), resulting into no coordination and disturbance in work and life balance. Thus Right to Disconnect Bill 2018 is looked as boon to the employee community working across India.

Efforts in this Regard already into Practice

  • European nations like Ireland, Genmany, France, Norway already has such laws implemented and into practice. France leads the race to setup an ideal example to make provision into their constitution for the Right to Disconnect, it clear-cut mentions , any employee not reachable after office/working hours through smartphone is not to be considered as misconduct. Moreover France has 35 hours as weekly working hours.
  • The EUROPEAN UNION (EU) in referendum ruled out in 2015 that time spent in Commute/Travelling (to and from work) is counted as WORK.
  • Kolkata based company also actualised menstruation leave (two days/month) for its women employees, making its announcement and implementation on the occasion of New Year’s Day.
  • The respective Right to Disconnect Bill 2018 is yet to be discussed in lower house of Lok Sabha. Right to Disconnect being the private bill, has faint possibility, because so far approximately 5% of the private bills are ever discussed and debated in lower house. A report produced by the PRS Legislative Research in year 2015, mentions that the 13th lower house (Lok Sabha) in year 2015 discussed nominal close to 5% private bill, 14th lower house (Lok sabha) discussed 3% and 16th lower house (Lok Sabha) debated only 2.85% of such private category bills. Hence to make this Bill a reality and take a shape of Act, this needs an upper hand and massive support from the private community.

Important Links (External)

  1. This Bill will give you the right to ignore your boss - The Economic Times
  2. Right to Disconnect Bill 2018 - Actual copy of the Bill (Pdf file).
  3. A Bill That Wants You To Go Offline After Work - Bloomberg Quint.