Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.55 7 Nov 2019


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The Business Minister is hoping to bring forward a policy on a 'right to disconnect' for workers within the next few months.

Heather Humphreys says workers shouldn't feel they have to answer their phone or respond to emails at 9pm.

The Government is currently examining a right to disconnect policy, with Minister Humphreys noting they 'hope to have something' after Christmas.

Speaking today, the Business Minister said people need to be allowed to switch off.

She said: "I don't want to see workers feeling that they have to answer their phone at nine or ten o'clock at night, or even have to answer emails.

"We want to develop a policy on that, and I have officials looking at it."

She added: "I don't want to see people feeling under pressure, under stress - that they don't get a break from work.

"They're much more productive if they get a good night's sleep and they rest in the evening. We have to have a work-life balance."

Minister Humphreys added that she hopes to have a policy in the 'next few months', but stressed that it's important for officials to engage with relevant stakeholders first.

The Government has previously said an interdepartmental group is looking at the French approach to the issue.

French companies with more than 50 workers have to guarantee employees the right to disconnect from their e-mails outside of office hours.

Reporting by Kacey O'Riordan and Stephen McNeice
Main image: (l to r) Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Business Minister Heather Humphreys and Education Minister Joe McHugh. Image: Kacey O'Riordan

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