France Enacts Revolutionary Work/Life Balance Law

Sophie Miura

Joanne Pio

Checking work email after hours has been linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety, yet for many employees the pressure to stay online prevails. That's all about to change in France, thanks to a controversial new law.

El Khomri labor law, a series of measures targeting French workers, suggests employers should change their policy about communicating out of hours, reports The New Yorker. If adopted in the U.S., the law could put an end to your phone pinging during a dinner party or having to check email on vacation. Sounds good, right?

The French government suggests the right to disconnect is “The development of information and communication technologies, if badly managed or regulated, can have an impact on the health of workers,” Article 25 states. “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.”

The law suggests that companies develop digital policies to limit the blur between work and leisure. Volkswagen has already taken the lead by switching off its server off after hours while rival Daimler allows employees to delete any emails they receive on vacation. 

Given Americans are amongst the hardest workers in the world, putting in a full day more than a standard nine-to-five job entails each week, this measure could be revolutionary if brought to U.S. shores. In the meantime, we'll be looking to France to see if they master the elusive work/life balance

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