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EU: No early “right to disconnect” law

EU Employment Commissioner, Nicholas Schmit, criticized the decision by two employer organizations to withdraw from 'right to disconnect' talks.

The bottom line: It is unlikely a viable legislative proposal will be put forward by the Commission soon and progress is not expected until after the European Parliament elections and the appointment of a new Commissioner. In the absence of an EU Directive, individual Member States will continue to legislate for remote work and the right to disconnect.

Additional material: 

Quotes from Commissioner Schmit: 

"Therefore, we regret that the EU cross-industry social partners did not come to a successful conclusion of their negotiations. This could have been a good opportunity for tackling the challenges and opportunities related to telework and the right to disconnect in a balanced and informed manner, to the benefit of workers and companies alike. We all concur that regulating telework and the right to disconnect through cross-industry collective bargaining at European level would have been the best way to proceed. But now we are faced with a different scenario. In the letter sent to the Commission to inform about the negative outcome of their negotiations, the social partners stressed that the file is now back in the hands of the Commission."

"I am very disappointed that it was not possible between social partners to find an agreement for the reasons which have already been mentioned. This is very short sighted."

URL links:

  • A useful summary on Telework can be found in this Eurofound report.  
  • For an interesting take on the debate on remote/hybrid work, see this article from the Los Angeles Times. The headline is a little misleading. 

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Authors: Tom Hayes

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