French workers in organisations with more than 50 workers now have the ‘right to disconnect’ from technology out of hours as France seeks to establish agreements that afford work flexibility but avoid burnout. The Guardian report that as from 1 January 2017 French companies are required to guarantee their employees a “right to disconnect” from technology as the country seeks to tackle the “modern-day scourge of compulsive out-of-hours email checking”. Under the new law organisations with more than 50 workers are obliged to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones. Overuse of digital devices has been blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they can switch off. The measure is intended to tackle the so-called “always-on” work culture that has led to a surge in usually unpaid overtime – while also giving employees flexibility to work outside the office.
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