The EP is currently deliberating a revision of the Working Time Directive of 2003. On October 22, 7 MEPs from different political groupings tabled amendments under which the directive would include a statement saying that the minimum weekly rest period “shall in principle include Sunday”.
They also tabled a new clause underlining the importance of a work-free Sunday for the protection of workers’ health.
“The likelihood of sickness in companies that require staff to work on Sundays is greater than in companies that do not require staff to work on Sundays,” it states. “The health of workers depends, among other factors, on their opportunities to reconcile work and family life, to establish and maintain social ties and to pursue their spiritual needs. Sunday, as the traditional weekly rest day, contributes to these objectives more than any other day of the week.”
The clause also points out that “absenteeism and sick-leave increase significantly in companies working on Sunday”, adding that this negative impact on workers’ health “is mainly due to the consequences for social, especially family life”.
Sunday “is the natural choice for family related activities, as childcare facilities and schools are closed”, it concludes.
The secretariat of COMECE encouraged MEPs to make full use of the EP’s procedural flexibility in order to enable a debate and vote on the issue to take place in the parliament’s plenary session of December 16, maintaining that the protection of Sunday is an issue of central importance for workers and their families, and a cornerstone of the European Social Model.