Finally Country Takes Stand on Checking Work Emails at Home

France's 'right to disconnect' law goes into effect Sunday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2016 4:59 PM CST
French Workers Win Right to Ignore Work Emails at Home
In France, you can be assured this couple is ignoring each other for reasons completely unrelated to work emails.   (Getty Images/AnaBGD)

(Newser) – In what may be the best French innovation since kissing and/or toast, the country has given its workers the right not to check work emails while at home. The Independent reports the new "right to disconnect" law takes effect Sunday for companies with more than 50 employees. The law requires those companies to clearly define the hours when employees aren't required to check or reply to work emails, according to the BBC. Supporters of the law say employees feel obligated to deal with work emails after hours but aren't being paid for that overtime. France's labor ministry says it wants to stop citizens from working these "hidden hours."

Prior to the new law, many French workers weren't sure when they were legally allowed to ignore work emails. The resulting obligation to constantly deal with work emails could lead to increased stress, problems sleeping, relationship troubles, and more. “What we find is that people who feel they have to respond to emails on their off hours become emotionally exhausted, partially because they can’t detach from work,” the New York Daily News quotes a professor involved with a US study that found checking work emails at home kept people from recharging at the end of the day. The right to disconnect law was the only new labor law passed in France this last May that didn't lead to strikes and protests. (Read more France stories.)

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