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The right to disconnect

The right to disconnect has been enshrined in French legislation since 2017, with the so-called law “Loi Travail” – the Labour Act – dated August 8, 2016.

According to this Act, every employee has the right to disconnect from any work device and not to answer emails, calls or messages outside their working hours.

The aim of this Act is to guarantee to all employees a good work-life balance by ensuring that they do not work during their rest time. This is expected to decrease stress at work and burn-out risks.

The “Loi Travail” also provides that this topic should be addressed during the mandatory annual negotiation with the unions in companies with 50 employees or more. Even if no agreement is found at the end of the negotiation on the right to disconnect, employers still have to issue a charter on this topic.

Most employers have implemented some practical tools, such as right-to-disconnect reminders embedded in e-mails, training sessions to managers on their team-members’ right to disconnect, etc. The purpose of such measures is to reduce the risk that an employee suffering from a burn-out or equivalent turns against the employer and claims the latter has not taken the necessary measures to prevent that. Non-compliance with the right to disconnect can only increase such a risk.