New York City Council May Regulate whether Employees Must Respond to After Work Emails

after work emails

The connectivity today’s technology offers means you can connect with your team anytime and anywhere. But remember your employees need off time too and a new regulation in New York City may see they can get it. New York City Council member Rafael Espinal has proposed a bill to protect employees from any retaliatory action if they choose not to respond to after work emails when they’ve clocked out for the day.

In an interview on Fox Business, Espinal said his goal is to protect employees who choose not to answer after work for fear of reprisals. He goes on to say, if both parties agree to communicate after work hours, they are free to do so.

The bill will only affect organizations with 10 or more employees, and anyone violating the law will be fined $250, which goes to the employee. In case of emergencies or overtime work, the law will not apply.

Similar Laws Around the World

Recently South Korea passed a similar law regarding computers. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is trying to stop employees from working too much. State employees will no longer be able to work after 7 PM beginning May 2018.

France, Germany, Italy, the Philippines and other countries are also evaluating proposals tackling the same issues.

What is Driving this After Work Emails Movement?

Regarding the issue of responding to emails after work, Samantha A. Conroy, assistant professor of Management at CSU’s College of Business, said, “They are not able to separate from work when they go home, which is when they are supposed to be recovering their resources.”

Conroy, along with Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University and William Becker of Virginia Tech authored a study titled, “Exhausted But Unable to Disconnect.” They said employees are being drained because of the anticipatory stress and expectation of answering after work emails.

The authors wrote, “Email is notoriously known to be the impediment of the recovery process. Its accessibility contributes to experience of work overload since it allows employees to engage in work as if they never left the workspace, and at the same time, inhibits their ability to psychologically detach from work-related issues via continuous connectivity.”

Recommendations From the Study

Simply put, if your employees are working all the time, you will not get the best out of them when they show up in the morning. Providing work/life balance is key if you want them to be happy, stay longer and remain productive.

While no two businesses are exactly alike, the researchers recommend managers implement “email-free days”, rotating after-hours email schedules, and if possible eliminating emails after work altogether.

They go on to say undertaking this type of effort for the well-being of your employees shows you are making efforts to find the balance they are looking for. This can lead to finding a workable solution between a company, its employees and the time they working and off work.

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

3 Reactions
  1. It is nice that they have this. Work can really take over your life if you let it and it is not just that. It is more of the demands of bosses who want to get a hold of their employees even outside work.

  2. I think that this has to be implemented. Some bosses can be just crazy in trying to get their employees to work outside office hours.

  3. I agree that this can get overboard and it can potentially harass employees. It is about having that balance of discipline and trust.