As workers throughout the United States and other countries continue to fight for their rights, France workers now have something to celebrate. A recent law has now given them the power to ignore emails from the office that arrive after hours. The United States currently rates dead last in this specific arena. In a number of other areas that relate to wages, equality, maternity leave, and other crucial aspects, they continue to lag to a significant degree.
In the wake of this recent bombshell from France, which stands as one of the more significant examples of workers’ rights being realized, there are several things that must be kept in mind. The new labor law in France now gives a worker the ability to “disconnect” email, smartphone devices, or anything else that is electronic and related to their job.
The Ministry of Law made the reason for the law clear. They want to ensure that a clear divide is established and respected between professional responsibilities and essential leisure/downtime. This rule compels companies of fifty employees or more to negotiate new out-of-the-office guidelines for email and other forms of contact, as it relates to management and staff. It is believed by virtually all that the disconnect law will give employees the ability to function at their places of employment more efficiently. This is another piece of legislature that comes from the country that is already known for the thirty-five hour work week.
It is also worth mentioning that many French companies already have rules in place for emails and similar issues such as after office hours. Some companies have even gone so far as to shut off their systems entirely after office hours.
The impact of this new law has yet to be truly felt in the United States, where a number of battles are currently being waged over several topics related to the rights of workers.