This week, I came across the following article about a bill that would make it illegal for bosses in New York City to contact employees after work hours.
Following the example of France and several European countries that implemented a similar measure, this bill seeks to help workers in NYC retain a sense of work-life balance that is more difficult to maintain in the age of digital communication.
I think such a bill would be both unnecessary and potentially harmful.
First of all, an email does not require an immediate response and if your boss is so abusive and disrespectful that he/she does expect you to respond immediately at all hours of the night OR it’s the type of job that necessitates being on-call and you’re unhappy, then find a new place to work. It’s that simple.
Secondly, it’s up to YOU to set boundaries or know what kind of job or culture it’s going to be before you start a new job. If that’s not a job you can handle, keep an eye out for new opportunities.
Finally, NYC is a working city. It’s a different lifestyle than that of Europe or many other places. Neither is good or bad. Just different. A law like this may rob NYC and the United States of its entrepreneurial spirit and the hustle mentality that makes it so vibrant and alive.
While the idealistic sentiments behind this bill are well-intentioned and I don’t support offending employers in the slightest, making it a punishable offense to email after hours could hurt business owners and employees alike.
There is no reason to legislate such a measure, especially when every job is different and messages/emails, unlike phone-calls, can always be responded to later. The nuances of each career must be taken into account.
Anyway, I don’t think this bill will pass.