This is a Real Life Scenario:
About half of our company's revenue comes from helping volunteer organizations manage their operations. Specifically, volunteer-driven youth sports leagues.
This is great in several respects for us:
- Most everyone we work with is super nice. 'High stakes' here versus, say, finance or law
- The primary beneficiary of what we do is children.
- We get to help organizations run by people in their spare time grow.
It's also not great in a few respects:
- Not a ton of money in it (fine with us)
- Our support burden varies dramatically because our users are all over the map, literally and figuratively.
- Most of the volunteers who are our clients work on our stuff when they aren't at their day jobs.
This last item means that, from time to time, we'll have something come up at 7:00 PM (or later, since some of our customers are two or three time zones behind us) and it really does need to be dealt with right then. This is pretty rare due to how awesome we are, and even more rare that it takes more than a couple minutes to solve - but it does happen and no matter how good of a job we do during business hours, our customers have come to expect that we are at least paying attention while they are working with our stuff. It's actually a pretty small sacrifice and we don't spend our nights and weekends hooked to our smartphones: but we do have to glance at them to make a quick judgment call on whether whatever has caught on fire can wait until the morning.
This sort of government fiat idiocy is absolutely typical: the people who are most able to comply with it will be large businesses that have enough people and resources to just schedule people according to when they need coverage so that 'business hours' are not being violated. It is usually big business that can absorb the costs of rules like these. We have a handful of people who work for us and they have lives. They enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the job and they (like me) feel that having to be mildly attentive after hours for the once a month that you do have to put in a little extra work is a small price to pay.
None of which is to say that it's not possible to pressure your salaried employees to do things after hours that they don't want to do; but there is some responsibility on the employee side to be up front about what the commitment expected of them is. The best antidote to companies that do take advantage of their employees in this manner is competition: the knowledge that they could go to work for us (or anybody) who won't do that to them. Shame that rules like this mean there will be a lot fewer of us when they do go looking.