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Right to disconnect: Smart working laws are low in Europe

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Smart working, or active work, was crucial in the early stages of pandemic to contain infections and allow work activities to continue. The state of emergency quickly gave impetus to a revolution: thanks to digital devices, many office tasks can actually be performed from home, which guarantees workers a lot of benefits and saves time and expense associated with traveling home. -Office. Smart working is still widely used in our country even after the acute phase of the Pandemic. In May 2021, there were 5.4 million remote workers and more than 7 million self-employed. But if living at home is divided into “comfortable” on the one hand, on the other hand it may lead to the complete unity of private and professional life.

The risk is that the start and end time of the working day will no longer be available for 24 hours. In Italy, Act 22 regulates active work, which provides for an individual contract between the worker and the employer who identifies the steps required to ensure the severance. Recently, in Transitional Law 30 of Decree 2021, a law was introduced recognizing the right of the worker to disconnect from technical contracts and IT platforms, subject to the terms of individual contracts, for the periods available.

At the European level, however, there is no single indication that a document dictates the rules to be applied in different states. The result is a diverse shift in the right to secession within the European Union. A research by Tofoleto de Luca Tamajo, a law firm specializing in labor and trade union law consultancy for companies, conducted in collaboration with IUS LABORIS, the International Association of Labor Law Specialists, analyzed various national regulations. . “Countries that have restricted the right to divorce are still exempt, and most have done so in the last twelve months,” said Aldo Bottini, a lawyer representing Tofoleto de Luka Tamajo. “Thus a different situation was created, waiting for the European Commission to accept the invitation of the European Parliament to present a proposal for a Union resolution, so that the Member States guarantee certain elements common to all.”

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In a variety of contexts, there are countries that have enacted specific laws, including France. Here, companies with at least 50 employees must negotiate union agreements that give workers the right to disconnect from equipment outside of working hours and issue a policy in the absence of a contract. On the other hand, the law in Belgium recognizes the law as a stress risk factor, and the employer must take this into account when assessing the risks associated with professional activity and take different measures, including dismissal. On the other hand, in the first months of 2021 the Irish government published a “Practice Code” on the right to disconnect outside normal working hours; The code is part of the strategy for remote remote work, and employers need to pay more attention to recording time in areas where this training is not common, especially in remote work. Germany and Spain have no specific laws, although disconnection is generally governed by collective agreements or incorporated into company policies.

Wants to accurately classify countries, analyze eurofund data on laws related to dynamic work, specifically identify four categories: Italy, Spain, France and Belgium adopt a balanced approach between smart working regulation and disconnection legislation; The Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, and Portugal have laws that “encourage” active work, but do not take into account the risk of being “always on”; Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia apply long-distance legislation with common law; The UK, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia and Sweden have no specific rules for active work.

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