A new law in Belgium gives 65,000 federal employees the right to refuse calls and emails from their bosses outside working hours.
According to Petra De Sutter, the Belgian minister for public administration, the right to disconnect will be used to combat “excessive work stress and burn-out” among federal civil servants.
“The computer stays on, you keep reading the emails you receive on your smartphone. To better protect people against this, we now give them the legal right to disconnect,” Sutter said.
It aims to effectively overcome the blurred line between work and personal life, especially now that many people work from home.
The rule also states that workers “should not be disadvantaged by not answering the phone or reading work-related messages outside normal working hours.”
The only exception to the new rule is “exceptional and unforeseen circumstances requiring action that cannot wait until the next working period.”
However, unions and managers have the right to determine what kind of exceptional circumstances are in which the rule does not apply, but Sutter said that workers’ families, rest, and holidays must be respected.
For more information, read the original story in NPR.