Leaving Work at Work Is Now a Legal Right in France

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In the age of email, leaving your work at the office is often easier said than done. A new French law aims to change that by protecting an employee's right to ignore professional emails outside of work hours, The New Yorker reports.

The amendment is part of a widely unpopular French labor reform bill that was pushed into law on May 10. The law has been criticized for its interference with the 35-hour work week, while a section titled "The Adaptation of Work Rights to the Digital Era" has flown in under the radar.

Article 25 states:

"The development of information and communication technologies, if badly managed or regulated, can have an impact on the health of workers. Among them, the burden of work and the informational overburden, the blurring of the borders between private life and professional life, are risks associated with the usage of digital technology."

In an effort to protect an employee's right to disconnect, the law encourages companies to adapt official policies that limit work-related communication during off-hours. France won't be the first country to enact such a measure. In 2014, Germany's labor ministry banned employers from contacting their staff outside the office barring "exceptional circumstances."

Being pestered by your boss on evenings and weekends isn't just obnoxious—it's unhealthy. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology last year showed that workers who were expected to be available even after they left the office exhibited higher levels of stress. Let's hope that the U.S., where nine out of 10 workers admit to checking work emails at home, is next in line to recognize the right to unplug.

[h/t The New Yorker]