Whistle While You (Don’t) Work

Whistle While You (Don’t) Work
Many members of the French work force will be whistling a sweet tune of happiness over the new “right to disconnect” law that went into effect last week. The law is meant to enforce and protect workers’ “right to disconnect.” Companies with more than 50 employees must set specific hours when employees should not send or respond to work emails. The law is also intended to ensure fair pay for work, and stave off workplace burnout. As reported by Fortune: “‘French legislator Benoit Hamon, speaking to the BBC, described the law as an answer to the travails of employees who ‘leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash—like a dog.’” On the necessity of the “right to disconnect” law, France’s labor minister, Myriam El Khomri, stated last year: “Employees are more and more connected during hours outside of the office…the boundary between professional and personal life has become tenuous.” The hope is that the restricted email hours will increase productivity and effectiveness of workers. As numerous studies have shown, happier workers are more productive workers. And having downtime from work emails almost always results in greater levels of happiness, as affirmed by the test subject writing this article. France is not the first country to lobby for this restriction. In 2012, Germany-based Volkswagen blocked all work emails to employees after a certain time. And at Daimler AG, an automotive company based in Stuttgart, Germany, the company – in a move that is almost unfathomable in the U.S. – deleted any email that was received from an employee who was on vacation. With a minimum of five weeks paid vacation, 35-hour workweeks, free education, free healthcare, and now, restricted work email hours in the “right to disconnect,” moving to France continues to be an appealing dream – or plausible reality – for many. For more information on moving to France, have a look at our short guide.

Lead photo credit : image: CC0 Pexels

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Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to BBC News, Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, Dance Magazine, and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster and is the Editor in Chief of Fat Tire Tours’ travel blog. She lives in New York City.