Study on telework and the right to disconnect commissioned by the European Commission

Notus in collaboration with Visionary Analytics elaborated the “Study exploring the social, economic and legal context and trends of telework and the right to disconnect, in the context of digitalisation and the future of work, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic“, which was published in March 2024. 

Over recent decades, the use of information and communication technologies for work has facilitated flexible work arrangements, such as telework, which offer potential benefits to both employees and employers. At the same time, they also pose important risks, particularly in terms of working conditions, workers’ health and safety and work-life balance.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence showed that a sizeable proportion of employees and employers have a preference for hybrid working arrangements, that combine telework with on-site work.

In January 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution with recommendations to the Commission on the right to disconnect. The resolution called on the Commission to present a legislative proposal on the right to disconnect, as well as an EU legislative framework for telework. Specifically, the resolution highlighted the fundamental role of social partners in identifying and implementing measures addressing the challenges of digitalisation, telework and the right to disconnect.

In light of this policy background, in 2022, the European Commission commissioned this study, as one of the follow-up actions to the European Parliament’s resolution. The objective of the study is to gather evidence and to better understand the challenges, opportunities and trends in relation to the flexibility of working time and work location, with a focus on telework and the right to disconnect.

In the meantime, European cross-industry social partners launched negotiations to update their 2002 Framework Agreement on telework. Following their inconclusive negotiations, they asked the issue to be addressed by the Commission. This is why the Commission launched on April 30 2024 the formal consultation of the EU social partners, as per the rules and procedure for social policy legislation. The consultation will be open until 11 June 2024. 

The study elaborated by Visionary Analytics and Notus will feed into the preparation of EU action on telework and the right to disconnect, alongside the outcome of the social partners’ consultation.

More information about the project: