France has responded to stressed employees by giving them the “right to disconnect”

With the new year comes new legislation in France. As of the first day of 2017, employees will be given the “right to disconnect” outside of working hours.

The rule will be enforced upon companies with 50 employees or more to make sure their workers won’t feel the obligation to check work emails and texts once the day has ended.


The law is a victory for employees who suffer the negative effects of unwillingly working outside of the office – restlessness, stress and unpaid overtime.

The law means that companies must have an arrangement with their employees which separates work from leisure time.

According to the Guardian, nuclear power company Areva and insurer Axa “have already taken steps to limit out-of-hours messaging to reduce burnout among workers.” French research company Eleas reported in October “more than a third of French workers used their devices to do work out-of-hours every day. About 60% of workers were in favour of regulation to clarify their rights.”

Among happy workers, French newspaper Libération has praised the decision, stating that “employees are often judged on their commitment to their companies and their availability”.

The “right to disconnect” is part of a much bigger sphere of issues surrounding employment in France, which has a controversial strict 35 hour work week.