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French Law Prohibits Sending Work Emails on Weekends

The Drastic Yet Amazing Way the French Government Is Promoting Work-Life Balance

These days, it seems nearly impossible to unplug — truly unplug — from work-related matters. Try as we might to disconnect at night or on the weekends, it's difficult to avoid getting sucked into the endless vortex that is our work email. And boy, is it a slippery slope. One minute you're thinking, "OK, I'll just respond to this one really important email, and then I'm done. That's it." And the next minute, you're deep in an email chain that you forgot to respond to before dashing out the door for happy hour on Friday evening.

Well, the French government has taken drastic measures to prevent these after-hours emails — it's made them illegal. A new law states that companies with 50 or more employees must establish the hours of the day during that employees are not supposed to send or answer emails, according to BBC. Though no companies will actually be penalized for violating this amendment, the government strongly believes this "right to disconnect" is vital for preventing workplace burnout.

"Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work," said Benoit Hamon, a member of the French National Assembly. "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."

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We can't help but agree with this new amendment. It's necessary to put down the phone or laptop every now and then, both for the sake of recharging your creativity and maintaining your general sanity. It may seem like that email is pressing, but seriously, it can wait until Monday.

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