France considers the right to disconnect at night

In France, President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party is pushing legislation that gives employees the right to “disconnect” from work, the BBC reports today.

Companies of more than 50 people would be required to have policies establishing the hours during which employees would not send or answer emails.

“All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant,” Socialist MP Benoit Hamon tells the BBC.

“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.”

The proposed law is running into some opposition. From workers.

“I do sales. I like doing sales. It means I use email late into the evening, and at the weekend. I don’t want my company preventing me from using my mail box just because of some law,” says one employee.

“In my company we compete with Indian, Chinese, American developers. We need to talk to people around the world late into the night. Our competitors don’t have the same restrictions. If we obeyed this law we would just be shooting ourselves in the foot,” says another.

A consulting company says even if the law passes, it’ll be outdated soon anyway because email won’t be around much longer and “we’ll have moved on to something else.”

Related: The French take more holidays and work less – but does it matter? (Guardian)