The French company will be required to guarantee employees the “right to disconnect” on weekends and do not respond to emails in work email. The new law, which entered into force on January 1, 2017, requires companies to allow workers to ignore their messages that employers send to employees after hours.
The law requires organizations employing more than 50 people to determine by mutual agreement the rights of employees to relaxation and privacy, strictly defining the time when they should be connected. If agreement cannot be reached, the company shall be the Charter of “good conduct”, which clearly defined the requirements and the rights of employees after hours.
The initiator of innovation, according to Life, became Minister of labor of France Miriam El Khomri. In addition, French trade unions have long worried that the use of digital devices leads to an increase in unpaid working time, fatigue, insomnia, and conflict. However, the law does not provide for any sanctions against employers who do not wish to adhere to the new rules.
The French newspaper Libération in an editorial praised the innovation, saying that the law is needed because “employers often judge on staff commitment to the companies and their availability” out of hours.
Expert Anna Cox from the University College London (UCL) believes that companies should flexibly relate to the innovation. “Some people don’t mind working a few hours each evening, but want to be able to turn off the phone when they communicate with their children or cook dinner,” she says.
A study published by the French research company Eleas in October, showed that more than a third of French employees used their mobile devices for work purposes daily. About 60% of workers have advocated the regulation and clarification of their rights.
Some large companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler in Germany or energy company Areva and the insurance company Axa of France already self-limited time, messaging to reduce a burnout syndrome in workers.