Right to disconnect should be an EU-wide fundamental right according to MEPs
European Parliament calls for an EU law that grants workers the right to digitally disconnect from work without facing negative repercussions.
In their legislative initiative that passed with 472 votes in favour, 126 against and 83 abstentions, MEPs call on the Commission to propose a law that enables those who work digitally to disconnect outside their working hours.
It should also establish minimum requirements for remote working and clarify working conditions, hours and rest periods.
Impact of Covid-19
The increase in digital resources being used for work purposes has resulted in an ‘always on’ culture, which has a negative impact on the work-life balance of employees, MEPs say.
Although working from home has been instrumental in helping safeguard employment and business during the COVID-19 crisis, the combination of long working hours and higher demands also leads to more cases of anxiety, depression, burnout and other mental and physical health issues.
MEPs consider the right to disconnect a fundamental right that allows workers to refrain from engaging in work-related tasks – such as phone calls, emails and other digital communication – outside working hours.
This includes holidays and other forms of leave. Member states are encouraged to take all necessary measures to allow workers to exercise this right, including via collective agreements between social partners.
They should ensure that workers will not be subjected to discrimination, criticism, dismissal, or other adverse actions by employers.