January 21, 2021
“Workers’ Right to Disconnect Should not be delayed” – MEP MacManus

“Workers’ Right to Disconnect Should not be delayed” – MEP MacManus

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has expressed his disappointment at the passing of an amendment to a European Parliament report regarding the ‘Right to Disconnect’. MacManus said, “this amendment long fingers legislative action for the right of workers to disconnect outside of working hours’. 

Speaking from Brussels MacManus said:

“In this era of huge advancements in new technologies, lifestyle changes such as working from home are becoming more attractive for many workers. We have seen a huge uptake in persons remote working since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that means that it is important we legislate for the right of workers to disconnect when not inside their allocated working hours. 

“MEPs voted on a proposal for the right of workers to disconnect. Whilst I recognise this is an important step forward as it is the first time the right to disconnect has been legally recognised by the European Parliament, I was disheartened to see an amendment from regressive forces within the Parliament calling for a three-year delay before the Commission implements any legislative action. This grace period is unacceptable.” 

“Workers are experiencing stresses from out of work hours emails, whatsapps, texts and calls. Solutions need to be found now, not in three years’ time. There was no grace period offered to workers when employers began to contact them at out of work hours, therefore there should be no grace period for employers to cease this practice.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP concluded, “Thankfully workers in Ireland may not have to wait as long for the right to disconnect. My colleague, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has introduced a bill to give workers in Ireland a legal right to disconnect and I am pleased that her work in Dublin is leading the way for offering workers a better work/life balance.” ENDS

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