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Bill Introduced So Employees Can Reject Office Calls After Working Hours

| Published on January 11, 2019

Indian parliament is finally looking to improve the working culture in India that has been dominated by the policies of multinational companies.

NCP MP Supriya Sule has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha to give employees the right to reject calls or e-mails from employers outside of office hours. The Right to Disconnect bill, requires companies to detail out-of-work demands “as a way to reduce stress and ease tension between an employee’s personal and professional life.” Sule said.

What this Bill is all about?

According to this bill, Companies with more than 10 employees would negotiate specific terms and conditions with their workers and create an Employee Welfare Committee consisting of representatives from the company’s workforce. Companies also cannot take any action against employees if they do not receive or refuse to accept work-related calls after office hours. An employee is entitled to work overtime if he or she has agreed to work outside of the established conditions.

What if companies follow it?

And if companies don’t obey these rules, they can be fined. Failure to comply with the regulations can lead to a one percent penalty to the employee’s total remuneration.

“Studies have found that if an employee is expected to be available round-the-clock, they tend to exhibit risks of over-working like sleep deprivation, developing stress and being emotionally exhausted,” Sule told the Indian Express.“This persistent urge to respond to calls and e-mails (termed as ‘telepressure’), constant checking of e-mails throughout the day, and even on weekends and holidays, is reported to have destroyed work-life balance of employees.”

India isn’t the only country that is looking to improve the work-life balance. France has passed a law according to which employees aren’t obliged to reply to emails outside office hours. Several European countries also have rules around how many hours a week employees can work — Netherlands only lets employees work for fewer than 40 hours a week.

Note that this bill is just a proposal and it must pass through both houses of Parliament to become law.

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