Community news, Covid-19 News|29/09/21

Right to disconnect: a new Eurofound report

Home > The news of EUROGIP and occupational risks in Europe > Right to disconnect: a new Eurofound report

Eurofound has just published a report on the impact of the right to disconnect in the workplace, illustrating it with practical cases. Indeed, digital technologies have made it possible to work faster at any time and anywhere, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. Since then, more than one in three Europeans work from home. But teleworking can have adverse effects on workers’ physical and mental health.

According to Eurofound, workers are twice as likely to exceed the 48-hour working time limit, not get enough rest and work in their free time. To address this problem, there have been calls for a “right to disconnect”. MEPs have called on the Commission to bring forward an EU directive on the right to disconnect, a right they consider fundamental.

Eurofound’s findings

In its new report, the European Foundation comes to the following conclusions:

  • After the shift to telework during the pandemic, hybrid forms of work are likely to increase in the future; is existing labour legislation adequate?
  • The experience of the first four Member States to introduce rules and agreements on the right to disconnect before 2021 has demonstrated the central role of the social partners in ensuring practical translation on the ground. Failing that, legislation may be an option to ensure compliance with minimum standards.
  • In companies, a “soft” approach that focuses on awareness raising, training and managing the connection outside working hours is more common than a “hard” approach, which consists of cutting off access to company communications at specific times.
    New agreements and legislation on the right to disconnect will need to take into account the factors that lead to the “perceived” need for constant connection, such as workload, lack of training and work processes that fuel over-connection. Management buy-in and regular reinforcement of the message about the importance of the right to disconnect will be essential to its success.
  • Evidence is still lacking, but the social partners’ experience of the impact of the right to disconnect on employee health and wellbeing, work-life balance, gender equality and business performance suggests that positive changes in company culture are taking place following the introduction of the right to disconnect.

Report “Right to disconnect: Exploring company practices” (pdf)

Discover other news



SWEDEN: Serious accidents and long-term sick leave in the food industry

Workers in the food industry run a higher risk of serious accidents at work than other occupational groups. The average risk over the period 2017-2021 was 9.7 serious accidents at work per 1,000 employees. It was 15.5 for butchers and 8.9 for machine operators, who suffered the most serious accidents at work. Bakers and confectioners, although less affected, were still affected, with a rate of 5.3.

Community news


Working at home and OHS with a new OiRA tool

Teleworking has developed strongly since the COVID-19 pandemic, transforming the way companies operate and employees work. However, the issue of occupational health and safety (OHS) remains fundamental. A new interactive online risk assessment tool (OiRA) offers a practical solution for employers and teleworkers, helping them to create safer and healthier home workspaces.



BELGIUM: what to expect from occupational illnesses in 2022

In 2022, around 38,500 people received compensation for permanent disability due to an occupational disease. And nearly 13,000 workers (private sector and provincial or local administrations, APL) filed a claim for compensation; 211 deaths were recognised, 73% of which were due to asbestos, 17% to silicosis and 10% to other diseases. These are the findings of the Fedris “Statistical Report on Occupational Diseases” 2022.