Commuting Is Now Considered Work in Europe
By Diane Rommel / June 7, 2017 9:00 am

Are you a worker or an employer?

The latter will want to stay where you are — in America, land of the free, the brave, the chronically overworked. Workers, though, might find a more salubrious environment in Europe, where workers’ rights often outstrip their American equivalents in jaw-dropping ways.

You already know all about the differences in vacation. Here’s another point of comparison: The European Court of Justice has decreed that mobile workers should be able to count their commutes as working time. In short: commuting is work, and you should be paid for it. Especially if it entails this.

File the news next to a similar declaration that after-hours work emails are now illegal in France, a response to a situation described by one French lawyer thusly: “[Employees] remain attached by a kind of electronic leash — like a dog.”

These are but two of the various and sundry ways that labor laws contrast on opposite sides of the pond. There are many more if you know where to look. But perhaps no document illustrates our divergent approaches better than a self-evident precept in Europe’s transnational working agreement: as productivity increases, work hours should decrease.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?