Southwest Middlesex disconnects

·1 min read

In a time of more working from home and technology connecting us to everything all the time, the new potential challenge to our mental health has been a subject of legal changes. A Provincial amendment to the Employment Standards Act means employers, including municipalities, need to come up with policies allowing employees to disconnect from work, taking into account any unique circumstances of the job.

“Municipalities are somewhat unique in some respects in that they do provide 24-hour, seven days a week for emergency-type service for health and public safety,” explained CAO Jill Bellchamber-Glazier at the last council meeting.

She pointed to contracted OPP officers, firefighters, contracted water and wastewater workers, and road workers who need to stay connected and be ready to be called out during emergencies as examples.

The Ministry of Labour defines disconnecting from work as not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or sending or reviewing other messages, to be free from the performance of work during off-hours.

“People do need time to disconnect, get rejuvenated and get back to the workplace feeling reinvigorated,” said Bellchamber-Glazier.

Southwest Middlesex council approved its policy at it May 25 meeting, with help from Middlesex Centre’s policy that was one of the first released in the region.

“I’m sure we all realize the joys of having a smartphone, and the burden of having a smartphone in our pocket or purse. It never seems to be off,” said Mayor Allen Mayhew.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner

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