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European Union: Right to switch off at home planned

Last updated on March 9, 2021

European politicians are pushing for a right to separate private and professional life in the home office.

permanent availability – this should not be the case even in the home office. This is what the EU wants to work towards in order to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic for employees, especially as it is to be expected that many employees and some employers will prefer the home office even after the pandemic has passed.

According to a report by the Associated Press news agency, about a third of all employees within the EU are currently working from their home office. The pressure to be constantly available could arise of its own accord as the boundaries between work and private life become increasingly blurred.

A subcommittee of the EU Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution listing a fundamental right to switch off. The committee voted by 31 votes to 6 with 18 abstentions to allow people to take time off. It also calls on the European Commission to create rules that “keep pace with the new reality”, says Alex Agius Saliba, the Maltese socialist politician who tabled the resolution, as reported by the German Wave. “The pressure to always be reachable, always available is growing, leading to unpaid overtime and burnout,” Saliba said after the report. The result of the vote of the committee has no direct effect. Several hurdles still have to be overcome before the proposal can even be submitted to the EU Commission for voting.


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