NYC after-hours work email ban ‘great for business’, councilman says

A bill introduced in the New York City Council last week would give employees the right to disconnect from work-related emails after office hours -- but it could also be a way to boost business, City Councilman Rafael Espinal said.

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Espinal, who introduced the bill that would make it illegal for employees to demand that employees respond to emails, texts or calls after work hours, said it was a way to ensure that employees were taking much-needed breaks from work, which in turn would boost their performance in the office.

“Studies have shown that if employee disconnect, whether it’s from the internet, leaving the office, take some time off and go back to work the next day and do a better job,” Espinal told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney during an interview on Wednesday. “This is great for business, this is great for the employers.”

Espinal, a Democrat, stipulated that bosses can still contact their employees, but they can’t demand that someone responds, or retaliate if they don’t. Disconnecting from work would not apply in instances of overtime or in cases of emergencies, according to the proposal. The bill would only apply to companies that employed 10 people or more.

If passed, employers found to be in violation of the law would pay a fine of $250 to the employee.

“It’s up to the employee to decide at the moment whether they want to talk,” he said. “I’m not discouraging it. We have a lot of employees that go home, have families to tend to, have to decompress and have to go to work the next day and perform at an optimal level.”