By Divya Malani
This winter session Parliament saw a bill unheard of at least in the Indian workspace. A private member’s bill introduced by Nationalist Congress Party’s Member of Parliament Supriya Sule seeks to empower employees to go offline after work hours. That means no work calls or emails after office and on holidays.
The Right to Disconnect is a privilege employees enjoy in many countries in Europe which have stringent labour laws. But is the Indian workspace ready for it?
Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice-president at staffing firm TeamLease, said the bill should not be a top priority in a country that is in urgent need to reform labour laws. Moreover, there is no clear evidence of employees being penalised for not picking up work calls or for failing to respond to emails after work hours or on holidays.
A legislation cannot mandate a solution for this problem. Because it is saying the employer cannot act against you. The materiality of such incidents where somebody has actually been taken to task for not taking a call is something I would like to question.
Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder & Executive VP, TeamLease
Private members’ bills rarely become laws but this legislation has triggered debate in a country where working hours are among the longest in the world. A UBS report said Mumbai leads the list of cities across the world with people working an average of 3,314 hours a year.
Faisal Farooqui, founder and chief executive officer of consumer review website MouthShut.com, said regulating the relationship between employers and employees through a legislation is not desirable when the digital economy is transforming the way people work with more flexible timings. Moreover, companies hunting for talent are more open now to giving employees the work-life balance they need.
A huge number of companies every year are trying to become competitive in terms of attracting talent not just by offering higher salaries than their previous employer but by adopting a work-life balance culture.
Faisal Farooqui, Founder And Chief Executive Officer, MouthShut.com
Watch the full debate here: