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MEPs to vote on workers’ right to disconnect

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Workers’ right to disconnect will be put to vote at a European level on Thursday in the European Parliament.

MEPs are reportedly in favour of a legislative proposal that would reaffirm the right to be left alone outside working hours – in other words, not having to respond to requests by email, phone or otherwise if you have finished work for the day or are on holiday.

The question is all the more topical as generalised teleworking due to the pandemic tends to blur the boundaries between work and private life, according to Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and various MEPs.

In Belgium, a law proposes since 2018 to the employers to consult with the workers within the CPPT (Committees for prevention and protection at work), for the implementation of the disconnection and to supervise the use of digital tools.

What the MEPs are proposing goes further, at least those who support the text, and who believe that it should also concern delivery companies such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

“The pressure of permanent availability brings mental and physical suffering,” Groen MEP Sara Matthieu (Groen) explained to the European Parliament.

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Surveys show that employees feel more and more pressure to be available at all times, she stressed.

Matthieu said there is no consensus between political groups on all aspects of the text put to the vote, and that an amendment risks diluting its original intentions.

The amendment is reportedly being encouraged by the lobbying work of Business Europe, which she says is the umbrella organisation for private employers.

The Brussels Times

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