Time is ticking for many employers to get a written Right to Disconnect policy into place. Ontario added new requirements for employers to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) on December 2, 2021, through the Working for Workers Act, 2021. If you’re an employer that has 25 or more employees on January 1, 2022, you have until June 2, 2022, to get a written policy in place.
“Disconnecting from work” means not having to do any work-related communications, such as email, calls, or sending or reviewing messages. The policy does not have to necessarily create a right for employees to be free from work-related obligations after hours. It simply means employers must be forthright about what their firm’s policy is upfront.
A written copy of the right to disconnect policy must be provided to all employees, whether printed, as an email attachment, or through an online link (assuming the employee can access and knows how to use a computer and printer). This must be done within 30 calendar days of the policy being prepared or of any changes to a policy. It must also be given to any new employee within 30 calendar days of hiring. The right to disconnect policy must apply to all employees, though different groups of employees can be subject to different specific policies.
If an employer has multiple locations that each hire less than 25 employees, so long as the total number of employees is 25 or higher, then it will need a policy. All employees must be counted, not just full-time ones.
It can be difficult to know how to draft a proper policy and what to put in it. If you need help drafting your own policy on disconnecting from work, you should reach out to Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers to speak with an experienced employment lawyer online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.
Author: Sohrab Naderi