Being able to leave work at work is a luxury that many don’t have, especially among those in IT. I’ve personally witnessed how companies take advantage of salaried employees by forcing them to work from home after hours, sometimes even during holidays or while on vacation.
Now thanks to a new law dubbed “the right to disconnect,” having to worry about being contacted out of hours may soon be a thing of the past for French citizens.
From January 1, 2017, companies with more than 50 employees will be forced to conduct discussions as to when workers have the right to ignore e-mail and other communications without repercussions.
In the event that a deal between employer and employee can’t be reached, The Guardian notes that the employer must publish a charter that explicitly outlines the demands on, and rights of, employees when not on the clock.
At the same time, Xavier Zunigo, a French workplace expert, said workers won’t want to lose the autonomy and flexibility that digital devices afford.
France has had a work week of just 35 hours in place for nearly 20 years.
Supporters of the law claim that employees that are required to work out of hours aren’t being compensated for the extra work. What’s more, they say that the overuse of such digital devices can lead to increased stress, burnout, sleeplessness and even relationship problems.
Declining to work after hours may also reflect poorly on an employee, giving the impression that said employee isn’t committed to their employer.