LAW OF DIGITAL DISCONNECTION IN FAVOR OF THE RIGHTS OF TELEWORKERS

In a globalized world where new technologies reign and new means and modalities of communication and work emerge, such as teleworking, which gained strength as a result of the pandemic, it is necessary to have regulations that guarantee not only the exercise of the functions of the collaborators, but also ensure the rights of these.

Last Thursday, March 10, approved in second debate the legislative file 22230, called “Reform of paragraph D) article 9 of the Law 9738, Law to Regulate the Telework, passed to guarantee the Labor Disconnection of the Workers”.

This Law, through the addition of a paragraph to article 9, subsection D) of the Law to Regulate Telework, establishes: “(…) Without prejudice to the provisions of the preceding paragraph and in order to ensure respect for their time off, vacation, leave and their personal and family privacy, the teleworker shall be entitled to digital disconnection outside the established working day or schedule, except in unforeseen and urgent situations, in which they must consent”.

In recent years, it has become normal to talk about mental health and this applies not only in the private sphere of people, but also in the workplace. Workers also suffer from work-related stress, for example, the “burnout syndrome” or “burned-out worker syndrome”, which has been recognized as an occupational disease by the World Health Organization. Therefore, it is crucial to guarantee the workers’ right to leisure, by disconnecting from their work once their working day is over, thus generating a balance between the work and personal life of teleworking employees.

The labor disconnection bill represents, for the employers, the obligation of respecting the end of the working day of all workers, which subsequently encompasses: phone calls, mails, messages, meetings outside working hours; and it is not limited to the working day as such, it also applies to vacations, leaves, licenses and disabilities, and ultimately represents a breakthrough in labor material, because it raises awareness of employers regarding the importance of respecting the leisure time of workers.

This concept has been recognized in European countries such as Spain and France; however, it has been little explored in Latin America. Definitely with this new law, Costa Rica takes a big step in favor of workers’ rights.

Written by Alexa Narváez, Lexincorp Costa Rica

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