“Right to Disconnect”, Apr 2021

A new Code of Practice to Improve Work Life Balance


On April 1st, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Leo Varadkar signed a new code of practice to give workers the “Right to Disconnect”.

Developed by the Workplace Relations Commission (the “WRC”) the code of practice details how the issue of activity outside normal working hours should be approached. It is hoped the new code will improve work-life balance.

The three rights enshrined in the Code:

  • Employees have to right to switch off from work outside normal working hours – including the right not to respond immediately to emails, telephone calls or messages.
  • Employees have the right not be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside normal hours.
  • The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect outside of normal working hours.

While breaking the Code is not an offence, it is admissible in evidence in proceedings before a court, the Labour Court or the WRC.

Views are also invited on the Tánaiste’s plans to put the right to request remote working into law.

The  Tánaiste said:

“I am announcing two things today. Firstly, I have signed a new Code of Practice giving all employees the Right to Disconnect. This is effective immediately. Secondly, I am opening a public consultation on the right to request remote working, inviting views from all on how this right can be enshrined in law.”


Professional advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed. Please contact a member of our team should you wish to discuss this topic further.