NEW YORK — Getting work emails from your boss when you’re off the clock? There ought to be a law against that.
Well, in New York City, there just might be.
Rafael Espinal, a city council member from Brooklyn, introduced a bill last week that would make it illegal for businesses to contact employees via email or instant message when employees are off work.
The “Disconnecting From Work” bill would only apply to businesses with 10 or more employees and forbid communication when workers are off duty, on vacation, using personal days or off sick.
“There’s a lot of New Yorkers out there that don’t know when their work day begins or when their work day ends, because we’re all so tied to our phones,” Espinal told CNN affiliate WCBS. “You can still work, you can still talk to your boss, but this just is saying that, when you feel like you’ve hit your boiling point and you can’t do it anymore, you’re able to disconnect and decompress for a while.”
(CNN has reached out to Espinal and is waiting to hear back.)
Employers who violate this would pay a fine of $250 and $500 to the employee.
There would be exceptions for employees who work overtime or who are on call 24 hours a day.
The bill is currently in the council’s Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing Committee. It’s similar to a law in France which gives workers there to right to ignore business emails that pop up in inboxes after work hours.
Espinal has gotten novel legislation through the council before. Last year, he sponsored a bill that established the Office of Nightlife, which oversees New York’s nightspots, and created the city’s first “nightlife mayor.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed that measure into law last fall.