It’s the End of Working Time as We Know It – New Challenges to the Concept of Working Time in the Digital Reality

39 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by Tammy Katsabian

Tammy Katsabian

Harvard Law School - Labor and Worklife Program

Date Written: May 12, 2020


This article strives to unpack the concept of labour time in the digital reality. It does so by exploring the apparent gap between de-jure notions of work and rest times, especially in Canada, and the way that people conduct their work time de-facto, given the technological advancements that enable them to work from a distance. To do this, the article analyzes the legal, sociological and internet literature on the topic and presents various studies regarding the implications of working from a distance on the employee and the modern workplace.

The article shows that the recent challenges to the notion of working time have led to two main proposals of regulation. The first aims to return to the classic concept of working time and restrict the working schedule. The other aims to celebrate the new technological capabilities to conduct work anytime and anyplace and disregards the dominant role of time in labour law. The article argues that these opposing models provide only partial solutions and shows that they both suffer from crucial deficiencies: they either ignore the dramatic changes in the world introduced by digital and virtual technology, or worse, they ignore the basic idea and purposes of labour rights.

Based on this struggle between labour law and technology, the article suggests a new paradigm for working time regulation that follows more general understandings of regulation in the digital reality. This paradigm brings together the logic and structure of the new flexible internet world with the basic principles of labour rights.

Keywords: Labor, Technology, Working Time, Law and Sociology

Suggested Citation

Katsabian, Tammy, It’s the End of Working Time as We Know It – New Challenges to the Concept of Working Time in the Digital Reality (May 12, 2020). McGill Law Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Tammy Katsabian (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School - Labor and Worklife Program ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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