On 30 April 2021, the Economic and Social Council (Conseil Économique et Social, “CES“) published its stance on the right to disconnect. The purpose of the statement is to make a proposal for a text that would include the principle of disconnection in the Labour Code.
In this context, the CES proposes to supplement the legal provisions on health and safety at work with a new section on “Respect for the Right to Disconnect” and a new Article L. 312-9, which would include:
Implementation of mechanisms to promote compliance with the principle of the right to disconnect in companies where employees use digital equipment for work purposes. These mechanisms will have to be adapted to the specificities and challenges inherently unique to all companies, which would remain free to decide on measures to enforce the right to disconnect (e.g. charter, blocking access to the company’s server during certain daily and weekly time periods, leaving digital equipment on the business premises, etc.).
The implementation of a system ensuring the respect of the right to disconnect should be made at the level of the existing collective bargaining agreement or a sectoral agreement. Failing that, the scheme should be defined at company level by the employer after consultation with the staff delegation (or mutual agreement from 150 employees). If there is no staff delegation, the employer would need to inform the employees of the scheme.
In the event of non-compliance with these provisions, the Director of the Labour and Mines Inspectorate could impose an administrative penalty. The exact amount would be determined according to the circumstances, the seriousness of the breach, the behaviour and the size of the company. The effectiveness of the penalty would be deferred for one year from the entry into force of the new article, and for three years for companies covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
The CES statement can be consulted by clicking here (in French).