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Most adults in Britain support a ‘right to disconnect’ law, new research reveals

Prospect argues that bosses should be banned from ‘routinely emailing or calling’ outside set working hours

MOST adults in Britain support a “right to disconnect” being enshrined in law to protect people from having to respond to work messages outside of core hours, new research has revealed.

The Savanta ComRes poll found that 61 per cent of respondents backed the proposal, after trade unions including Prospect urged Tory ministers to include such a right in the government’s long-delayed employment Bill.

More than a third (34 per cent) “strongly support” the idea, while 27 per cent “somewhat support” it, the survey, commissioned by news website LabourList, shows.

Prospect argues that bosses should be banned from “routinely emailing or calling” outside set working hours and that emails should be automatically deleted to deter off-duty staff from continually checking inboxes.

The survey’s findings follow Labour including a “right to disconnect” in its “new deal for working people,” launched by party leader Sir Keir Starmer last week.

The package of measures also featured a commitment to making flexible working a default right open to all, a proposal also backed by a majority of adults (52 per cent) who took part in the poll. 

Flexible working can include flexitime, job sharing or home working, which doubled to include about a quarter of the working population last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employees currently have a right to request flexible working after six months in a job, but firms are under no obligation to accept requests. 

In June, Downing Street confirmed that ministers were considering introducing a right for employees to request home working specifically and a flexible working task force is now examining how best to proceed.

However, officials stressed that there would be no legal right to work from home when the employment Bill, first promised in 2019, finally materialises.


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