The Malta Independent 1 March 2021, Monday

70% of MEPs approve MEP Agius Saliba’s report on Right to Disconnect

Jake Aquilina Thursday, 21 January 2021, 17:33 Last update: about 2 months ago

Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba's report on the Right to Disconnect has been approved by the great majority of the Members of the European Parliament.

The Right to Disconnect is a worker's right to be able to disconnect from work and refrain from engaging in work-related electronic communications, such as emails or other messages, during non-work hours. The MEP's report received 472 votes in favour; 70% of the MEPs votes.

In a live video on Facebook, Agius Saliba sounded his joy over the "historic moment" in the European parliament, as his report was approved a few minutes earlier.

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This comes after a report he conducted showed that "30% of people who are working from home said that they are working during times when they should be off from work."

"I have been working on this since before I was elected as a membeer of the European Parliament," he remarked. "We worked with diverse European groups in order to get this vote."

The win is one for all Maltese and Europeans, he said, so that workers can enjoy their time off. "It cannot be that our workers continue being treated as if they are robots, and not being given their fundamental rights."

"In your free time, you should enjoy it with your family and your loved ones. No one should trample over this right."

The MEP said that such abuse by employers should not happen, and if it does, the employee should be compensated.

"We will now start to define the Right to Disconnect. We are going to give basic rights to workers. If you work more hours than was already agreed in your contract of work, you should be compensated fully."

Talking about the next steps ahead, Agius Saliba remarked that the pressure is now in the hands of the European Commission, so that the legislation that he wrote and negotiated comes into fruition. He said that it is now up to Nicolas Schmit, who is the European Commisioner for Jobs and Social Rights, to establish these new laws.

"Our appeal now is to the commission, so that Commissioner Schmit takes action in the shortest of time in order to start the discussions within the European Commision and so that they can ensure that the Right to Disconnect is implemented," he remarked.

 


 

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