The European Parliament wants to make the right to disconnect a legal right in the EU
Parliament wants to protect employees’ fundamental right to disconnect from work and not to be reachable outside working hours.
Digital tools have increased efficiency and flexibility for employers and employees, but also created a constantly on-call culture, with employees being easily reachable anytime and anywhere, including outside working hours. Technology has made teleworking possible, while the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns have made it widespread.
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Constant connectivity can lead to health issues
Rest is essential for people’s wellbeing and constant connectivity to work has consequences on health. Sitting too long in front of the screen and working too much reduces concentration, causes cognitive and emotional overload and can lead to headaches, eye strain, fatigue, sleep deprivation, anxiety or burnout. In addition, a static posture and repetitive movements can cause muscle strain and musculoskeletal disorders, especially in working environments that don’t meet ergonomic standards.
Over 300 million people globally suffer from depression and work-related mental disorders
Parliament calls for new EU law
The right to disconnect is not defined in EU law. Parliament wants to change that. On 21 January 2021 it called on the Commission to come up with a law allowing employees to disconnect from work during non-work hours without consequences and setting minimum standards for remote work.
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