+353 (0) 404 37420

Right To Disconnect at Work- Code of Practice

The Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect came into effect in Ireland as of 1 April 2021. A copy of the Code and explanatory memorandum is available on the Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) website here.

The Code states that the Right to Disconnect refers to an employee’s right to be able to disengage from work and refrain from engaging in work-related electronic communications, such as emails, telephone calls or other messages, outside normal working hours.

Whilst failure to follow the Code is not an offence in itself, employers should be aware that their compliance or otherwise with the Code will be taken into account in the adjudication of any complaint made by an employee to the WRC. For example, if an employee lodged a claim in respect of excessive working hours or inadequate rest breaks under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 (as amended), the WRC could consider whether the employer was aware of and implemented the Code of Practice in their organisation.

The Code recommends that the company grievance procedure should be used where informal attempts to resolve employee complaints around the Right to Disconnect are unsuccessful. It should also be remembered that if an employer does not implement the Code, they my be faced with a constructive dismissal claim under the Unfair Dismissal Act 1977 (as amended) or payment of salary under the Payment of Wages Act 1991 (as amended) if the employee tries to argue they had no other option but to resign or were entitled to be paid for additional hours worked etc.

The Code states that employers “should engage proactively with employees and/or their trade union or other employees’ representatives as appropriate to develop a Right to Disconnect Policy that takes account of the particular needs of the business and its workforce.” In essence employers should have a right to disconnect policy in place which is referenced in an employee’s employment contract in the same way as any other company policy would be.

If you have any queries around what the Right to Disconnect policy should contain or wish to discuss the Policy in general, please do not hesitate to contact the office on the numbers or email set out below.

Scroll to Top