California Proposal Aims to Protect Workers’ Off-Hours Privacy

A new proposal in California seeks to give workers the right to disconnect from work-related calls, texts, and emails outside of their scheduled work hours. Introduced by State Assemblymember Matt Haney, the bill, known as AB 2751, aims to promote better work-life balance for employees in the state.

Under the proposed legislation, California companies would be required to clearly define compensated work hours and establish company-wide policies to respect employees’ right to disconnect after work hours.

Employers found violating these provisions could face investigations and fines from the state’s labor commission.

Assemblymember Haney emphasized the importance of adapting to changes in the modern workplace, where smartphones have blurred the boundaries between work and personal life.

He highlighted the need for workers to have uninterrupted time with their families without constant work-related interruptions.

While the bill includes exceptions for emergencies, collective bargaining, and scheduling purposes, it aims to strike a balance between protecting workers’ rights and accommodating the needs of different industries and professions.

California Proposal Aims to Protect Workers' Off-Hours Privacy

Haney emphasized that many large California employers already adhere to similar right-to-disconnect laws in other countries, suggesting that the proposed legislation would make the state’s businesses more competitive.

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However, the California Chamber of Commerce has expressed opposition to the bill, arguing that it could impose rigid working schedules on employees and hinder communication between employers and workers.

The Chamber highlighted concerns about the potential impact on workplace flexibility and the ability of state agencies to function effectively.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee for further review and is expected to be discussed in the coming weeks.

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