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Imagine a Law Protecting Us From Our Employers. Must Be Those Crazy French Again!

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One of the major problems with many recent technological advances that supposedly save time or create convenience is that they allow employers to demand more time from us. That’s been a huge issue with cell phones. Driverless cars will do the same, as employers will find that time we aren’t driving perfect for doing even more work. This is a real issue that of course does not get taken seriously in the United States. But it does in France.

French workers rang in a new year at midnight — as well as a “right to disconnect” law that grants employees in the country the legal right to ignore work emails outside of typical working hours, according to the Guardian.

The new employment law requires French companies with more than 50 employees to begin drawing up policies with their workers about limiting work-related technology usage outside the office, the newspaper reported.

The motivation behind the legislation is to stem work-related stress that increasingly leaks into people’s personal time — and hopefully prevent employee burnout, French officials said.

“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog,” Benoit Hamon, Socialist member of Parliament and former French education minister, told the BBC in May. “The texts, the messages, the emails: They colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

Such a law in the United States would be just common sense. So of course it will never happen.

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