Does your employer have a right to demand your free time?

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It is becoming increasingly so, that your employer will expect that you do some extra yards and once the final whistle for the day has blown . This ‘surplus’ work is most commonly done as we sit in the comfort of our homes, tv humming along in the background as your partner sits silently, hoping you’ll finish that one, last email, soon. Unfortunately, emails warrant a response and no doubt the first email of the evening, isn’t the only email that you’ll send…and so the chain begins.

The work you thought you’d finished, has not concluded at all. It’s 8pm. Dinner is nearing being served but you can’t eat, you haven’t run spell check yet or proof read the very important email that could plot your success for the coming week, worse still, affect your entire career.

So it seems that this email is way more important than eating or perhaps reading your children a bed time story. They call for you. You shout at them for distracting your work. The pressure builds and arguments ensue with your partner, quickly. Your life is a misery. Denial and the nice things that sit within your home, make it all bearable but in reality, make the cycle even harder to break. Odd feelings pass through your body, this was the dream job, the ticket to a better more fruitful ‘cash rich’ life.

You’re not alone. Your boss/colleague has been dealt the same hand as you, no doubt they are caught in the relentless cycle you yourself are in. To get ahead, you have to do this, it’s now the norm, isn’t it? To remain in your job, never mind being competitive, then this is the right thing to do, the expected thing. We slack once, we’re toast. Miss an email and can feel the judging eyes cast upon us the very next day.

After all, we did make our bed, should we now lie in it?

You said on your CV that you were hardworking and persistent. During your interview you also stated that you are an honest person, so you can hardly go back on your word now and refuse to work past your clocking out hour?

Well, perhaps you can, more importantly should we be given that right.

The French are looking to pass a motion that protects it’s citizens from ruthless employers that expect too many extra yards. At the finish of the day if an email, call, text etc hits your device then you will be protected – and not have to answer until the next working day! ***You can breathe once the clock stops for the day***

Could this and should this be passed in this country? Is a rule, a law required to stop this ever growing cycle. You see not one person will stand up and say, “I’m not doing this anymore, it’s too much work“ and then all of a sudden the whole working population follow them. Most people would say. “I’ll do it boss” and jump into their shoes. The rat race does crazy things to a person but this is the way things have evolved. It’s happened to us all as the bare/two faced co worker sells themselves out for that extra inch. They have inched ahead of you for that pay rise, new project or just the plain old favouritism that we all crave. Has the cycle created a demon, the demon that demands we get ahead, ahead of the crowd. It’s a dog eat dog world after all.

So, be the dog, wag the tail, lay on your back and let the boss tickle your belly. BUT if a law could be passed and your life sounds similar to this, then you should grab the opportunity to make a stand and with both hands. Time spent with family and time spent for yourself does, as the evidence suggests, provide a happier and healthier life. Surely that’s why you took that dream job in the first place?