The European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs proposes the adoption of a new directive (the “Project”), which guarantees the EU employees’ right to disconnect. The reason for introduction of such regulation is the mass working from home used as safeguard employment during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Project defines “the right to disconnect” as refrain from direct of indirect engaging in work-related tasks through the use of digital tools outside working hours.
This means that outside working hours employers are not allowed to:
- assign tasks to their employees;
- phone calls and other means of connecting employees via phones;
- send emails and other digital communication.
The restriction is fully applicable holidays and other forms of leave.
During its plenary session, the European Parliament pointed out that, apart from its positive aspects, digitalisation has resulted in longer working hours and increases the risk of unpaid overtime. Thus, the European institution considers that the “always on” culture has a negative impact on the work-life balance of employees
In this regard, the Project provides for the adoption at national level in all Member States of mechanisms for control over employers and to guarantee the right to disconnect. One of these measures involves the creation of registers of individual working time to be maintained by employers. Every employee may at any time request and receive information from the register about his/her working hours.