Have you heard the news? France has banned the sending of work emails after 6pm. This is just the latest move in France’s often envied efforts at creating a healthy work-life balance among its citizens. They already employ a 35-hour work week and generous paid vacation time, and now, may be creating a law that obligates certain people to “disconnect from remote communications tools” after a certain time of day. Granted, this isn’t for everyone. This new regulation would mainly apply to 250,000 employees of consulting, computing and polling firms – those that receive the most off-the-clock emails.
The new accord, which is still awaiting approval from the Labor Ministry, would require employers to verify that all workers have 11 hours of uninterrupted daily “rest” time to which they are all legally entitled to.
This isn’t actually the first time something like this has happened. Back in 2011, the German Volkswagen company started tuning off its Blackberry servers at the end of each work day, preventing employees from sending or receiving work-related communications after that time. And just last year, the German Labor Ministry ordered supervisors to not send work emails past a certain time.
All this is in direct contrast to the United States where many people often work well over the standard 40-hour work week, some for no extra pay, and only get a few weeks of vacation a year, if that. So knowing that, does that make the European countries lazy or just more concerned for the emotional and physical health of their citizens? Would everyone benefit from a more controlled work environment or will that stifle innovation?
What do you think, is France’s new law crazy or genius?