Are you one of the millions of Americans who get cryptic emails from a psycho boss when you should be enveloped in bed with Netflix and a glass of cabernet? Yeah, work sucks and then you die, but not in France, where the government passed a new law that allows employees to disconnect from all work correspondence past a certain hour.
According to the law, which took effect January 1, companies with over 50 employees are required to “negotiate a new protocol to ensure that work does not spill into days off or after-work hours,” according to the New York Times.
Now you have more reason to be jealous of the way French culture places a premium on enjoying life. Benoit Hamon, a member of French parliament, explained the rationale behind the law in an especially blunt and French sort of way last spring: "Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash — like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails — they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down," he told the BBC.
There’s a caveat though, NBC News points out, considering that many French businesses report employing just 49 workers, which is a way of circumventing workforce laws that take effect at the 50 employee threshold. That being said, the new law could very well affect just over half the workforce in France, according to reports compiled by the European Union.
Whether the laws end up affecting half the workforce or not, the ability to mute the deluge of annoying emails, texts and phone calls should sound like divine intervention to the French, who are very good at turning their lamentation into positive action.