Bill on the right to disconnect

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Date:
01 Oct 2021

Newsflash

By:
Dorothée David

Bill on the right to disconnect

Bill no. 7890 modifying the Labour Code to introduce a provision on the right to disconnect (hereinafter, the “Bill”) was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on 28 September 2021.

The Bill, which largely reflects the opinion of the Economic and Social Council (Conseil économique et social) of 30 April 2021 on the right to disconnect (see our Newsflash of 4 May 2021), plans to modify the Labour Code in particular by introducing a new section 8 entitled “Respect for the right to disconnect” in the chapter devoted to the employer’s obligations in terms of the protection, safety and health of employees.

The new measures introduced by the Bill are as follows:

  • Obligation to define a specific scheme to make sure the right to disconnect is respected: when employees use digital devices for their work, a scheme needs to be defined for the company or sector in question, making sure that the right to disconnect outside working hours is respected (new art. L. 312-9 section 1 of the Labour Code).
  • Content of the specific scheme: this scheme should be adapted to the specific situation of the company or sector, and should define, where applicable:
  • the practical arrangements and technical measures for disconnecting from digital devices,
  • awareness-raising and training measures,
  • compensation arrangements in the event of one-off exceptions from the right to disconnect (new art. L. 312-9 section 1 of the Labour Code).
  • Implementation of the specific scheme: the scheme could be defined by way of a collective bargaining agreement or a subordinate agreement. Failing that, it should be defined at company level, in accordance with the remit of the staff delegation, if there is one (new art. L.312-9 section 2 of the Labour Code).
  • Involvement of the staff delegation: the scheme making sure that the right to disconnect outside working hours is respected could only be introduced and modified after the staff delegation has been informed and consulted, if there is one, or by mutual agreement with the staff delegation in companies with at least 150 employees (new art. L. 312-9 section 2, new art. L. 414-3, paragraph (6) and new art. L. 414-9, point 8. of the Labour Code).
  • Sanctions and transitional measures: any breach of the above provisions would be liable to an administrative fine of between 251 and 25,000 Euros imposed by the Director of the Labor Inspectorate (ITM) (new art. L. 312-10 of the Labour Code). However, this measure would only come into force one year after the Bill is published in the form of a Law in the Mémorial, and 3 years after this date for companies covered by a collective bargaining agreement or a subordinated agreement.
  • Compulsory negotiation in companies covered by a collective bargaining agreement or a subordinated agreement: the arrangements in place for the scheme to make sure that the right to disconnect outside working hours is respected would be added to the list of subjects for compulsory collective negotiations, the result of which must be recorded in the collective bargaining agreement or the subordinated agreement, if there is one (new art. L. 162-12, paragraph (4), point 5. of the Labour Code)