Disconnection from work becomes a right, what does it consist of?


AXA insurance has revolutionized the business world in Spain. This company has been the first company in Spain to regulate the right to disconnect from work through an agreement presented last Friday to the media in which this right to the worker is expressly recognized. What does it consist of?

The AXA Group in Spain and the Union of Workers' Commissions (CCOO) have signed a new collective agreement that will begin to apply this year, until 2020. The agreement includes four new aspects to be included in the employment situation of workers: First, and for which the agreement has been one of the news of the day, the implementation of the right to disconnect outside working hours; second, an improvement in the telework situation with more comforts; an extension of the right to paternity (12 days plus flexible hours in the following 6 months) and, finally, the inclusion of new features regarding flexible remuneration.

We have spoken with Carmen Corbatón, Director of Labor Relations and Diversity at AXA in Spain, so that they can better tell us what they hope to achieve with this agreement: “We believe that the agreement contributes to further improve the company's working environment and adapt it to new times. , promoting AXA's diversity and inclusion policy. In addition, it is an important aspect to facilitate the reconciliation of personal and professional life ”.

We also wanted to know better what happens when an employee is outside their working hours and what are the main aspects to take into account with the right to disconnect from work, thanks to Legálitas' lawyer, Arantxa Hernández:

What advantages will employees have with the right to disconnect from work?

In AXA what they have done has been to collect it in a collective agreement. Actually, a worker outside his working hours does not have the legal obligation to answer the phone because imagine that he does not see it or has some personal problem that prevents him from seeing you. Another thing is what is usually done ... Also, if a job gives availability to a company it is because in return it receives a bonus for it. That is why AXA has included it in an agreement to make it much clearer.

The disconnection to which means of contact does it refer?

As it is a novel event, it will depend on what is stipulated in the agreement. That is to say, they can put a business mobile phone at my disposal or my computer, but that does not mean that outside of my hours I have to be constantly connected.

To what extent, if there is an emergency, can they contact the employee or not?

Even if there is some kind of urgency, if there is no legal obligation to be available, you do not have to be since you may not have seen it. If you do not see it and you have the legal responsibility to attend to it, it is when it is irresponsible. If this clause does not exist in the worker's employment contract, there cannot be any type of measure against him. Even if the company imposes it verbally, they must prove it through the managers or workers themselves.

What would happen if the agreement is not fulfilled?

Compliance can be claimed and required through a conciliation ballot at the Mediation, Arbitration and Conciliation Service. A rights claim is raised and what they do is summon the company and the worker to reach an agreement. If a perfect settlement is reached, if not, the next step would be to file a lawsuit in court.

Expectations of this right in the business world in Spain?

Situations are already occurring, precisely, totally contrary to this right. For example, there are people who are put on a company car that has a tracking device inserted. Well, this has caused certain intrusions to the privacy and intimacy of the worker by the company outside their working hours. In other words, there could be two situations: that companies begin to sign agreements such as AXA's or that companies want to know where their employees are at all times, and therefore should pay them a bonus for availability.

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