Hate Work Emails On Weekends? You'll Love France's Newest Labor Law

Hate Work Emails On Weekends? You'll Love France's Newest Labor Law


Emails are a professional necessity. They are not, however, always welcome.

There's a little something called Work-Life balance. Perhaps you've heard of it? You might not have since most people in developed countries have very little sense of one. We are expected to be essentially on call for a majority of hours every day and even on weekends. Tethered to our phones and waiting, just in case we might be needed for something. It's stressful! It unfair. It's no fun whatsoever. Well, perhaps it's time we all move to France? They just passed a new law that prioritizes "The Right To Disconnect."
Emails (CREDIT: DW)

  Yes. You read that right. In France, you are now given the right to disconnect. To not be constantly aware and on guard in case your manager or boss or colleague or client shoots you an urgent email. The law which was recently passed expects companies of fifty employees or more to put this into practice, designating times when employees are allowed to be non-responsive to those intrusive emails that seem to come at any time, day or night. Benoit Hamon, France's Minister of National Education said:
All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant. Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash— like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails — they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.
While this is an exciting prospect for many, it is certainly not a guaranteed weight from the shoulders of the people of France. Presently there is neither punishment for breaking this law nor a way to enforce it. Furthermore, others worry that this may result in even more stress with employees who could find themselves anxious in anticipation of an avalanche of communication that needs to be responded to when they do return to work. And if that's not enough, this law is essentially the only positive part of a labor bill that has been derided and widely protested by many. Protestors have voiced concerns that the El Khomri labor law, as a whole, will make jobs less secure, weaken the strength of unions, and have a negative effect on employee rights. A good starting place, sure. But let's see what happens from here.
Emails (CREDIT: Corporate Law)

  H/T: Huffington Post, BBC

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