California has had some interesting legislation over the years. Some of which, as an Idahoan, would be shocked by. Some of the proposed laws that didn't pass include banning smoking inside your home and banning black cars. The latest groundbreaking proposal is Assembly Bill 2751, the "Right To Disconnect From Work" Bill. The bill allows employees to disconnect from work-related communication during non-working hours without repercussions.

What is the Right To "Disconnect From Work" Bill?

If the bill were to pass, employers would have to establish each employee's work hours and a policy not to communicate with their employees via text, phone, or email during non-working hours. Of course, there are exceptions for emergencies or schedule changes within 24 hours.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Why is California considering the "Right To Disconnect" Bill?

Since the smartphone has made email, text, and phone communication so easy, the lines between work and home life have blurred. It's become more challenging to disconnect from your job. Even when you're at your child's soccer game, and you hear the notification of an email from your boss or an important client, the temptation to respond immediately is difficult to resist, even for the most disciplined employee. This has led to a lot of employee burnout. Family members feel ignored and unimportant, leading to marital and family problems that have broken up many families.

Is California the first to consider a "Right To Disconnect" Bill?

California is the first state to consider such a law. However, other countries have had this type of policy in place before. France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and Canada are among 13 countries with similar laws on the books.

Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash
Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

What are the results of the Right To Disconnect legislation in other countries?

The results from other countries have been highly varied. The biggest impact has been the awareness that work and personal life need to be separated. This has led to a cultural shift that respects work-life balance more than before, but it hasn't necessarily increased productivity or improved anyone's mental health or employee morale.

While the legislation's goal is to help employees' mental health, no research proves that work-life balance is a benefit. It varies from employee to employee. Only flexibility is proven to improve employees' productivity and mental health.

Will Idaho follow California's lead on the "Right To Disconnect" Bill?

Should Idaho follow California on this bill, or, like some opponents say, will it ruin our economy? Will it destroy small businesses that are already paying employees more than ever just to compete with places like McDonald's, which is paying up to $15 per hour as a starting wage? While some employees may need more work-life balance, there are better ways to accomplish it than by mandating it. If a business is having trouble with turnover, it probably needs to take a hard look at how they are treating its employees; forcing businesses into a one-size-fits-all version of work-life balance doesn't seem right.

Check Out 6 Crazy California Laws

We do not need these laws in Idaho.

Gallery Credit: Kevin Miller


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