Money & Career

France Just Made Work Emails On The Weekend Illegal

It's time to switch off!

If you’ve ever had trouble switching off, it’s time to be envious of France, because as of this week, a new law designed to help their citizens disconnect from work after hours has officially come into effect. 

The French labor reform bill was updated in May, banning medium-sized or larger companies from sending emails after work hours. The amendment has been called ‘the right to disconnect’, and it’s aimed at getting employees in a healthier frame of mind. As of January 1 2017, French people legally have the right to ignore work emails after hours.

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In an interview with the BBC, Benoit Hamon of the French National Assembly 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 colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

The country has been suffering from a problem with work-related stress for a while – as Les Echos reported, 1 in 10 of France’s workforce is at high risk of a burnout, caused by a fear of failure and physical fatigue related to their work.

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This newly introduced right is not necessarily an obligation, however the French government is hoping its people will see it as an opportunity to escape such stress in this digital age.

We say: when’s it coming to Australia?!

But in the meantime, one of the best things we can do to ‘ban’ ourselves from after hours emails is have a direct conversation with our managers to discuss the limitations and what is reasonable to expect outside of work.

Arianna Huffington has also written extensively on the topic of disconnecting from work after hours, and suggests actually disconnecting from technology by using the features of technology, such as the Do Not Disturb function of your phone.

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