EU Pushes for ‘Right To Disconnect’ From Work at Home

An anonymous reader shares a report: The coronavirus pandemic has not only upended social life across Europe but dramatically changed the way people work. With ever more people working from home — roughly a third of all employees within the bloc according to the Associated Press (AP) — and needing to be constantly reachable, the boundaries between work and private life have become increasingly hazy. On Wednesday, EU lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution arguing that individuals have a fundamental “right to disconnect.” The European Parliament Employment Committee voted 31-to-6, with 18 abstentions, in favor of allowing people to take time off and urged the European Commission to create rules that “catch up with the new reality” of work, according to Alex Agius Saliba, the Maltese Socialist politician who spearheaded the resolution.

“After months of teleworking, many workers are now suffering from negative side effects such as isolation, fatigue, depression, burnout, muscular or eye illnesses,” said Saliba, adding: “The pressure to always be reachable, always available, is mounting, resulting in unpaid overtime and burnout.” The committee measure must now be approved by the full chamber before it can be submitted to the Commission and EU member state governments for a vote. Lawmakers in favor of the resolution say the need for employees to be available via smartphone or e-mail around the clock is detrimental to mental health and well-being and that workers should be allowed to be offline without suffering employer retribution as a result.

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