French Workers Get the Legal Right To Ignore Emails After Work Hours

The new year has brought some good news for French workers as now they get the “right to disconnect” after working hours. It means that the workers can ignore work related emails, messages and phone calls after the official working hours have ended.

The Guardian reports that the new law obliges organizations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations in order to define the rights of employees to ignore their electronic devices.

Trade unions in France have long demanded action to tackle the “always-on” work culture. Since it leads to a surge in usually unpaid overtime.

Too Much Work is Bad:

A research report from Eleas says that more than a third of French workers use their devices to perform work tasks after hours.

This trend is to be blamed for spoiling healthy sleeping habits and causing harm to emotional well-being of workers.

The new law requires companies to negotiate with employees to agree on their rights to switch off and ways they can reduce the intrusion in their private lives.

If such a deal cannot be reached, the company must publish a charter. That would make explicit the demands on, and rights of, employees out-of-hours.

However, the “right to disconnect” doesn’t impose any penalties for companies that fail to reach such agreement with workers.

It merits mentioning here that some years back, German car maker Volkswagen also agreed to deactivate its workers BlackBerrys after hours to avoid troubling them with work emails.