European Sunday Alliance meets to discuss digitalisation and the future of work

Friday 5 May 2017

In view of the 26 April 2017 EU Commission proposal for an EU Directive on work-life balance for working parents and carers, the European Sunday Alliance, on invitation of MEP Thomas Mann (EPP) and MEP Evelyn Regner (S&D), met on Thursday 4th May for a discussion focused on ‘Digitalisation and the future of work – best practices and legislative challenges for Europe’.

The group discussed examples of best practice that legislators as well as companies can apply to ensure a healthy work-life balance for workers in the European digitalised economy.

Presentations included

  • ILO/Eurofound study on ICT mobile work and telework working anywhere, anytime: the effects on the world of work (2017) (Oscar Vargas Llave, Research Officer, Eurofound)
  • Best practice from the public sector: French legislation on the right to disconnect (Mireille Jarry, Counsellor for Social Affairs, French Permanent Representation to the EU)
  • Best practice from the private sector: Allianz SE & work-life balance (Burkhard Ober, Head of Office, Allianz SE European Affairs Office)

UNI Europa presented the key points we see as crucial for a healthy work-life balance

  1. stable employment that allows workers to build career perspectives
  2. work-life balance has to be negotiated in social dialogue, with intervention by national governments if this option does not reach sufficient coverage
  3. no zero-hour contracts or on-call jobs, but regular contracts which allow the worker to engage in professional and personal activities
  4. home workers are in limbo in terms of data protection and supervision, as well as adequate trade union representation

The main conclusion of the meeting was a clear commitment from the MEPs present to work on the integration of a common work-free Sunday to be included in the forthcoming proposal for the EU directive on work-live balance.

The European Sunday Alliance is a network of national Sunday Alliances, trade unions, employers’ organisations, civil society organisations, churches and religious communities committed to raise awareness of the unique value of synchronised free time for European societies.