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Banning Blackberrys Whilst on Holiday

By Practice Group Leader, Employment

Feeling refreshed and revitalised from your hard earned 2 week summer holiday? Perhaps not if you are a habitual deckchair Blackberry user.

Increasingly, banks are now banning employees from using phones whilst on holiday. At Barclays, staff are able to read e-mails but cannot respond to or receive calls. At Deutsche Bank, staff may check e-mails but are not allowed to conduct business or influence transactions via e-mail.

So is the City turning soft and encouraging proper "R & R" for employees? Following on from the recent decision that employees are entitled to variable pay such as commission and overtime pay on holiday, are the provisions of the Working Time Directive being taken more seriously? Not necessarily. Instead, compliance departments believe that illicit or negligent activity is more likely to come to light during periods of absence and preventing employees from covering it up by limiting their communications may assist.

This is an interesting development showing the lengths employers are now going to uncover wrongdoing which may lead to employees being concerned about who is looking after their work whilst on holiday. Ultimately it may create more stress for employees having to relinquish control over their work and ensure their work is being dealt with properly!

Rather than helping employees, this new development may engender a culture of mistrust. Instead of being able to communicate with a colleague on holiday employees may struggle to find out answers or may even unnecessarily escalate matters to compliance.

If you are not sure what your employer’s policy is on sending e-mails on holiday, you should check your employer’s electronic communications policy. If in doubt clarify the position with your employer.

If you do have concerns on any compliance issues you should seek legal advice and look at the company whistleblowing policy. At Slater and Gordon Lawyers we are often asked to advise on these issues and can help you to protect your position.

Preventing burnout may be a helpful by-product of limiting Blackberry usage on holiday. Except that is until you return to your desk to deal with those 2,000 waiting e-mails.

Deborah Casale is an Employment Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

For more information or to speak with an Employment Solicitor call freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK have 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Derby, Liverpool, Merseyside, Birmingham, Sheffield, Halifax, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.