MP Supriya Sule introduced a very important Private Member Bill on 28th October, 2019 in Lok Sabha known as the ‘Right to Disconnect’. The objective of this Bill is to empower every employee to have the Right to Disconnect from all work related communication after their set work-hours.
With the advent of digital and communication technology, the work flexibility has increased, meaning an employee can work from any location, any time directly from just his smartphone. Although it has its own benefits, it also carries with it a significant risk of erosion of boundaries between professional and personal life. To keep the work-life balance of the employees and in turn increase their productivity and performance, it is essential for them to take a much needed break from everyday work hustle or digital distractions and truly bond with the people around them. The Bill seeks to recognise the right to disconnect as a way to reduce stress and ease tension between an employee's personal and professional life.
The Bill seeks to constitute the ‘Employees’ Welfare Authority’ for the purpose of the Act, consisting of ex-officio members of important Ministries as specified in the Act. The Authority shall discharge such functions as may be necessary to ensure the welfare of employees in the country and formulate a charter that outlines the terms and conditions to be negotiated between employees and employers of a company or society. The Bill clearly states that every employee must have the Right to Disconnect, when contacted for work related purposes after work hours. If contacted, the employee is not obliged to reply or shall have the right to refuse to answer such calls or any other form of communication. The Bill also instructs every registered company and society to constitute Employees' Welfare Committees consisting of its employees to assist or represent the employees for negotiation of terms and conditions of out-of-work hours with employers. The Bill also provides for counseling services to increase awareness among employees and citizens, on reasonable use of digital and communication tools, for professional and personal use