France has passed a labor reform bill that forbids the use of work emails after work hours, the first country to codify limitations on email communication in the workforce.
French companies with fifty or more employees are now banned from using work email during the holidays and weekends, thanks to a new labor law named after Labour Minister Maryam El Khomri.
Chapter 25 of the El Khomri law, titled ‘The Adaptation of Work Rights to the Digital Era,’ includes a set of email regulations to deter work spillover from invading private life. The law mandates that companies define a set of hours when employees should not send any emails.
Few would argue that email is not a stress-inducer, and studies point to a correlation between work email and psychological detriment.
Job-related stress can lead to high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, depression and burnout, according to the American Psychological Association, and the prevalance of work communication via mobile device has only compounded the issue. IDC Research reports that 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning, and 79% have their devices with them 22 hours a day.
As the debate over the right to log off rages, email marketers can look to France as a guinea pig for email curfews. Will other countries follow France’s example? Or could this potentially backfire for France and deter companies from basing their business in the nation? An email curfew could also prove disastrous for global brands that work with professionals in varying time zones, causing delays in communication and potentially extending time-to-market.
We’ll just have to wait and see if le droit de la déconnexion, or the right to disconnect, inspires any like-minded nations.