A San Francisco lawmaker is proposing a bill that would make California the first state in the country to give workers the right to ignore after-hours calls, emails and texts from their employers. An employer could be fined $100 if they violated the law if it were to pass. The goal is to give workers more quality time with their families and for themselves. Studies show the blurring of the lines between work and home has shown to have a negative effect on mental health.

The Chamber of Commerce is against the proposed bill and there are questions of how it would be enforced including how it would pertain to workers in different time zones. Also, the bill did not account for various types of industries.

I think this bill is flawed and incomplete. Perhaps, it is being floated in order to spark a conversation. Perhaps, employers will make the change without a law. I sincerely doubt they will make a change without a law. I also think $100 fine is not much of a deterrent. I also think most workers are not going to alert authorities when they know there could be repercussions at their job. Does anyone really think that an employer would not eventually replace a worker that complains and is not a “team player?”

I think if the deterrent was something like 50K that could be effective. That would be an onerous tax for the majority of businesses in this country.

The bigger issue is businesses no longer respect the boundaries between work and home anymore. Part of it is because a lot of people now work from home but that is not the only reason. We are increasingly a have to have it now and hair is on fire society. Also, many more businesses are competing not just domestically but globally as well. Everything feels like an emergency. Nothing can wait until the morning anymore. The world does not sleep and neither can we. At least that is the feeling.

I see it with my own wife. It is not even her company per se but her need to get things done. Her unwillingness to let her co-workers pick up the slack. And yes, her company too oversteps boundaries. I do not think she is unique. I think this is the norm. Emails must be answered even if it is nine pm. Calls must be taken even if it is the wee hours.

With AI coming do we really think workers will not be replaced? Workers will feel more compelled to acquiesce and please their boss. Nine to five is pretty much a thing of the past. I do think happier workers will be more productive workers. I do think in the long run, companies will be better served by easing off of the whip. Does that mean hiring more people to fill some hours? Possibly. However, I would think retention of quality workers would be easier if they were not run into the ground.

I think a state coming up with a bill that addresses this is a good thing. I just think it needs to be well thought out and I’m not sure this one is well thought out. I am sure the congressman and his staff can put in the extra hours necessary to make this bill better.

We will discuss on Tuesday’s Davin’s Den at 7 Pm Est.

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