Law Gives Employees the ‘Right to Disconnect’ After Workday
One of the best career choices I ever made was to remove work email from my cell phone. My job isn't a 9-to-5 or Monday-Friday job. It's a 24/7, 365 days a year job. Radio doesn't stop. I guess you could say that we're even more dependable than the postal service because even in blizzard and flood, and on weekends, we're always here. Always.
I decided to remove work email from my phone because every time it would buzz, my heart would skip and I'd feel anxious, and like I needed to stop what I was doing to pick up and look at my phone. That meant that time with family and friends was constantly interrupted and most of the time, for things that could wait.
I've adopted the mindset that if something important comes up after I've left for the day, whoever needs me can pick up the phone and call me and talk to me in person. If they don't, then it can wait. By doing this, I have substantially less stress in my life, which has been amazing for my personal health and relationships.
However, unplugging my work email hasn't come free of guilt and anxiety. We all know the way the world works. Those who are continually plugged-in have a tendency to make more money and have better chances at raises and such. I had to decide which was more important to me- the relationship with my husband and child, or a raise. I picked my family. Jobs will come and go, but my family will stay through it all, so I need to make them my priority.
One government has officially changed the way people are attached to work and that's by passing a law that gives employees the "right to disconnect" from work after their day comes to a close. We're talking no phone calls, no emails, no text messages, no nothing.
The French Ministry of Labor passed the law to,
Ensure respect for rest periods and balance between work and family and personal life."
What this means for those who are employed in France is that if their company employs 50 or more employees, they have to be allowed a break from work after they've completed their workday.
France is the same country that's had 35-hour workweek in place since 2000, and it's worked exceptionally well for them.
There's almost always a catch with something that sounds too good to be true, and that's no difference in this case. While employees are now given the "right to disconnect" after their workday, there aren't any penalties in place for companies who decide not to follow this law. Also, last year, the French government relaxed rules which now make it easier for employers to reduce overtime pay, and to fire employees.