ETUC Position on the Right to Disconnect
Adopted at the Executive Committee of 22-23 March 2021
The ETUC calls on the Commission to launch without further delay a legislative initiative in the form of a European Directive on the application and enforcement of the right to disconnect.
For the ETUC it is crystal clear that the impact of digitalisation on the world of work should be guided by the respect of human rights and the fundamental rights and values of the EU. The existing legal framework as outlined above is fully applicable for digital working arrangements, however it is too often disregarded in practice.
Thus, there is an urgent need to ensure that the fundamental right to disconnect and its enforcement is effectively provided to all workers as not protecting them by not enforcing the right to disconnect would have severe human and social implications.
Given the current lack of international and European instruments specifically dealing with enforcing the right to disconnect, and in line with the ETUC Action Programme 2019-2023 adopted at its Vienna Congress to ‘promote the right to disconnect, including through legislative means’ (§188)’, the ETUC calls on the Commission to launch, in line with the provisions of the Social Policy Chapter of the EU Treaties, without further delay a legislative initiative in the form of a European Directive, based on in particular Article 153(1)(a), (b) and (i) TFEU, on the application and enforcement of the right to disconnect.
From a general perspective, this Directive should take a human rights approach in line with the international and European human rights instruments and their related case law.