A new bill in Quebec would make it illegal for your boss to disturb you outside of work hours

Thanks to the pandemic, working from home is becoming more and more common – but some argue that working remotely makes it even more difficult to unplug. Following in the footsteps of newly adopted Ontario Labor for Workers Act 2021, Québec solidaire tabled a bill proposing that Quebecers have the right to the “right to disconnect” outside of working hours.

Bill 799, presented by MNA for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Alexandre Leduc, aims to “enforce employee rest time”. How? ‘Or’ What? By requiring employers to set times when employees are allowed to disconnect from work-related communications, be it emails, Zoom calls or Slack messages.

The bill also proposes to employers to create a “protocol for the use of communication tools outside working hours”.

If the bill were passed, workplaces with 100 or more employees would have to develop their “after-hours disconnection policy” through a committee made up of 50 percent employees or representatives of workers. employees.

Employers with fewer than 100 employees would develop the policy themselves, but would have to have it approved by the Committee on Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work, which you may know as CNESST.

According to the bill, the penalties for violating the provisions of the law would be fines of between $ 2,000 and $ 50,000 for the first violations, depending on the size of the business. The amount of fines would double in the event of a repeat offense.

Likewise, Ontario Labor for Workers Act 2021, which goes into effect in June 2022, requires companies with 25 or more employees to have a “written work disconnection policy”, freeing workers from the obligation to respond to work messages and “fulfillment”. of work ‘overall once they’ve checked in.

While the law may look appealing on paper, Dave McKechnie, a Toronto labor relations lawyer, said Narcity it will not really improve the daily lives of many workers in Ontario because it will be difficult to apply.

This is the second time that Québec solidaire has proposed a bill on right to disconnect. The first was introduced in June 2020.

In one statement published at the time, Leduc said that “the pandemic has blurred the lines between personal life and work, which were already being challenged by the growing presence of technology in our lives. […] But the law is not equipped to deal with this reality. The government cannot say on the one hand that it wants to promote technology and work, and on the other, not to regulate the right to disconnect. ”

Bill 799 will still have to go through several stages of the legislative process and win a vote to become a Quebec law.

The cover image for this article is used for illustration purposes only.

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