New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr. introduced a bill last month that would make it illegal for employers to force employees to respond to emails or instant messages after work hours.
The “Disconnecting From Work” legislation would fine employers at companies with 10 or more employees $250 and require a $500 payment to workers for after-hours communication, including during vacation, sick or personal days.
Exceptions may include overtime work or employees on 24-hour call. The bill does not apply to government employees.
"There's a lot of New Yorkers out there that don't know when their work day begins or when their work day ends, because we're all so tied to our phones," Espinal told CNN affiliate WCBS. "You can still work, you can still talk to your boss, but this just is saying that, when you feel like you've hit your boiling point and you can't do it anymore, you're able to disconnect and decompress for a while."
According to The Hill, Espinal’s legislation is modeled after a 2017 French law, which gives workers the right to disconnect and requires companies with 50 or more workers to come up with a plan to handle after-hours communication.
Espinal’s bill is currently in the council’s Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing Committee.
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