Disconnecting from Work
Recently Working for Workers Act, 2021 (introduced as Bill 27) received royal assent. The Act amends the Employment Standards Act to introduce a new provision requiring employers with 25 or more employees to have a Right to Disconnect Policy. Every January 1, employers must assess their employee count and implement a written policy for disconnecting from work by March 1 of that year.
However, since this is the first year that the policy is required, employers have until June 2, 2022, to meet the new requirement. Do not delay, now is the time to prepare. Available from First Reference is the Disconnecting from Work policy that you can implement now. This policy includes Ontario's Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development recently published guidance on the right to disconnect policy requirement. In addition, you will find the answers to the following questions in the overview of the model policy:
- What is disconnecting from work?
- Which employees to include in the count?
- What happens when the number of employees changes throughout the calendar year?
- What elements to consider when customizing the policy?
- What should be included in the policy to meet legislated requirements?
- How best to communicate and train employees about the new policy
- What changes will require the policy to be revised annually?
- How can the IT department help with monitoring employee activity?
Although Ontario is the only jurisdiction that has a requirement for a Disconnecting from Work policy, the federal and Quebec governments are exploring similar legislation. Other jurisdictions may follow. Absent legislation every organization should consider implementing a Disconnecting from Work policy as a best practice due to the changing nature of the workplace and the need for work-life balance.