The recently enacted El Khomri labor law in France, which would amend the country’s treasured 35-hour work week in order to allow companies to make arrangements for employees to work more hours, has seen more than its fair share of protests. But, as the New Yorker points out, there is at least one upside to the law: The “The Adaptation of Work Rights to the Digital Era” provision, which aims to get people to stop checking their work email on the weekends.
From the New Yorker:
“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 — following the lead of Volkswagen, which turns off its servers after-hours, and Daimler, which allows employees to automatically delete emails they receive while on vacation — negotiate formal policies to limit the encroachment of work into people’s homes (or bingo halls, or salsa clubs, or wherever it is they find themselves when they’re away from the office).
You know who could use a law like that? The United States! According to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey, more than half of Americans said that checking their work email outside the office was part of their routine, even though studies have found that people who have their work email on their phone crib to being more stressed and anxious. Good wine, nice cheese, and the right to log off: just a few things that we’d be suited to inherit from the French.