BRB, moving to France

The country just passed a law that makes checking work emails after hours, illegal.

Arrive to work at 9am, take your designated half hour lunch break (not forgetting those two fifteen minute coffee breaks), leave at 5pm on the dot, kick back with a wine at home, watch the latest Game of Thrones and not lose one second of sleep thinking about the work you’ve got waiting for you tomorrow. Sound like you? Congrats, that’s awesome.

By the way, you’re in the minority. The rest of us are moving abroad.

France, the land of baguettes, frog’s legs and Thomas Mars, has just implemented a new law that prevents workers checking their emails past 6pm. Yep, you read right.

The laissez-faire country controversially introduced a 35-hour work week back in 1999 (by comparison, it’s generally a 40-hour work week in Australia), but recently noticed the frequency with which superiors could invade their worker’s personal time by emails sent directly to their smart phones.

Just to clarify, it’s not just a case of simply ignoring your bosses request to come in early the next day – it’s literally illegal to check your work emails after 6pm.

The deal, struck by workers unions, means a million employees from the technology and consultancy sectors (that’s companies like Google and PricewaterhouseCoopers) are completely off the hook come home time. No replying to emails from the comfort of your bed, no responding to so-called ‘emergencies’ from the top dog, no checking back over what the figures were on that report. Must be tough.

The new laws come at the same time the Swedish city of Gothenburg announced it will begin trialling the six-hour work day (even less hours than what the French put in, if that’s possible), believing it may help lower the unemployment rate, reduce the cost to companies for sick days and increase efficiency.

We’ll see.