EU jobs commissioner: Workers must have right to disconnect

Nicolas Schmit | Aris Oikonomou/AFP via Getty Images

’We’re not robots,’ says Nicolas Schmit.

Workers should have the right to disconnect and not be treated like « robots, » Jobs Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said at a POLITICO event today.

If the EU wants to establish a sustainable society and economy, the right not to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week is key, the commissioner said — labeling the inability to sign off a « horror vision of the digital age. »

“The right to disconnect is something very normal, because we’re not robots, » he said.

This would not necessarily mean Brussels enacting a regulation or directive « but at least we have to push for it, » said Schmit, whose portfolio also covers social rights.

Action is needed, he said, because while some companies have already taken action to guarantee the right, « unfortunately not all companies are intelligent. »

France rolled out measures forcing companies to give their workers the right to ignore their smartphones outside work hours in 2017.