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Right to disconnect

We encourage and support our employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Having clear boundaries between work and personal time is important for your wellbeing. You have a right to disconnect from work outside of your normal working hours or scheduled roster.

You should enjoy your time away from work without being disturbed. This includes not responding immediately to emails, telephone calls, text messages or social media messages (for example WhatsApp messages).

In some circumstances, it may be necessary for your manager to contact you outside of your normal hours. This may happen because of a need to fill rosters at short notice or where an emergency arises. This should be the exception rather than the norm.


The tone and sense of urgency in written communications should be proportionate. This applies particularly to those sent outside of the recipient’s normal working hours.

The urgency of texts or emails may be easily misinterpreted when sent outside of the recipient’s normal working hours. If the email being sent is not urgent, you should advise that an immediate response is not expected.


When scheduling meetings, take into account your employees' normal working hours and rest breaks. This applies to in-person and online meetings. You should only request those required to participate to attend the meeting.

Raising concerns

If you think your right to disconnect is not being respected, or your workload prevents you from disconnecting, discuss this with your line manager. If you feel you cannot approach your line manager, you should contact another manager at a higher level. You can also get advice from your local HR department

Examples of not being able to disconnect include:

  • being contacted regularly outside of your normal work hours
  • being expected to regularly work through meal breaks
  • feeling obligated to routinely work longer hours than those in your terms and conditions of employment
  • unable to leave work on time due to excessive workload
  • getting less favourable treatment for not being available outside of your normal working hours


Right to disconnect policy (PDF, 792KB,11 pages)
This policy applies to public health service employees in the HSE and Section 38 organisations

Code of practice for employers and employees on the right to disconnect (HR Circular 021 2021) (PDF, 340KB,17 pages)

Staff support

Employee Assistance Programme (staff counselling)

Occupational Health



National HR Employee Helpdesk

Phone: 1800 444 925

Email: ask.hr@hse.ie

The helpdesk is open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday