MEPs to vote on 'right to disconnect' policy to allow workers to switch off devices

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg - Credit: AFP/Getty Images

MEPs in the European Parliament are set to vote on a policy that will allow workers to switch off digital devices without facing consequences.

If agreed, a directive will say that EU countries must ensure that workers are able to exercise the right to disconnect effectively, including by means of collective agreements in a bid to protect workers’ health.

Proposed by the Employment Committee, the MEPs claimed that the culture of being “always-on” and the growing expectation that workers should be reachable at any time can negatively affect work-life balance, physical and mental health, and well-being.

Politicians are expected to vote in favour of being allowed to be left alone outside work hours - whether that is at night or during a holiday.

A 2020 survey by Eurofound revealed that one-third of workers are now working from home, with no European legislation currently defining and regulating the use of technology for work at home.

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

The Westminster government is currently reviewing which EU directives related to workers' rights to remove from UK law.

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