I missed this on Stuff, but heard it on RadioNZ today.
Workers who find themselves answering work emails on their smartphones after the end of their shifts in Brazil can now qualify for overtime under a new law.
The new legislation was approved by President Dilma Rousseff last month.
It says company emails to workers are equivalent to orders given directly to the employee.
Labour attorneys told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper the new law makes it possible for workers answering emails after hours to ask for overtime pay.
Judging by the vox pop comments of Brazilian workers on the RadioNZ piece, this isn’t necessarily a popular move. I can understand that. Turning off the emails after hours is a hard thing to do. It has become such a way of life for many working people, but even more so for those who believe their job depends on it.
This issue has started to emerge in several corners of the world. In May 2011, Chicago policeman Jeffrey Allen filed a class action suit against the city, asking for unpaid overtime compensation.
In December 2011, German carmaker Volkswagen agreed to deactivate e-mails on German staff Blackberry devices out of office hours to give them a break.
German telco Deutsche Telekom and consumer goods maker Henkel have also introduced measures to curb after-hours emails to reduce the pressure on workers to be always on call.
Remember the “work life balance” stuff we used to talk about?
Am I just old-fashioned in thinking that working lives are important, but so are our families as well?